Better Groceries for Less Cash
101 Tested & Proven Ways to Save on Food

By Randall Putala © 2008

Copyright © 2008 by Randall Putala All rights reserved For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to Permissions c/o SDMI, 5010 Linbar Drive, Suite 130, Nashville, TN 37211. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Putala, Randall Better Groceries for Less Cash / Randall Putala ISBN 978-0-9777106-0-7. Printed in the United States of America Book design by John Hreha

Cards & Counterintelligence Chapter 10: The Power of Rebate Clubs. Coupon Litmus Test Chapter 9: Clubs. Real Cooking Chapter 15: A System for Cooking = A System for Savings Chapter 16: Quick-Cooking: The Secret to Happier. aka “Your Check’s in the Mail” Chapter 11: A Rebate Returned is Money Earned Chapter 12: The Economics of Food Chapter 13: Smart Grocery Choices & Core Ingredients Chapter 14: Real Food. Healthier Meals Chapter 17: Planning Your Menus Chapter 18: Miscellaneous Cost Cutters Chapter 19: Online Coupon Hunting Chapter 20: Grocery Store Etiquette Chapter 21: Miscellaneous Time-Saving / Money-Saving Tips Closing Notes Glossary Savings Examples 4 7 9 13 19 23 33 49 59 61 71 77 81 83 89 93 97 103 123 129 135 139 143 144 146 .Contents Foreword Chapter 1: What Color is Your Shopping Cart? Chapter 2: The “7 Deadly Sins” Chapter 3: Here’s Your Sign Chapter 4: The “12 Steps to Recovery” Chapter 5: The Myths & Misconceptions of Store Coupons Chapter 6: Strategy & Tactics: How to Win the War for Your Wallet Chapter 7: Couponing Tactics: The Simplest Way To Organize Coupons Chapter 8: The Currency vs.

I'm assuming that you'll want the 10 year warranty. concocting elaborate schemes to 'work the sales person down'. whether it is competitive or not. But I do want your sworn assurance that nobody – absolutely nobody – will pay more than me for the identical vehicle. of course you're correct. No freebies or add-ons. They'll print out comparison reports from the internet. he replies.Foreword A man walks into a car dealership. But as you’ll see in the pages of this book. The salesman looks stunned. correct?" If you're thinking this scenario is a little farfetched. but the man goes on: "And don't even try to give me a better deal. I'm buying from you". All this. And based on the way most people view food shopping. Yet these very same consumers who spend countless hours scheming and negotiating to get the best deal on their new car. Are groceries the new “high ticket items” of our current economy? Just look at your 4 . Without blinking an eyelash now. for a purchase made once every five or six years that immediately loses about 10% of its value when you drive it off the lot." The salesman recovers his wits and is delighted by his good fortune. it’s not really as absurd as you might think. "I want to buy your finest vehicle and I'll pay the full sticker price. I don't care that the dealership down the street offers a lower price. they'll even threaten to walk out of the dealership if they don't get the concessions they want. Most people pride themselves on getting the absolute best deal on a new car. probably never stop to scrutinize the details of their grocery receipts. I won't accept them. it’s not that far removed from the everyday reality that most people experience in their grocery store. He says to the salesman. "my last customer took out a 5 year extended warranty. call every dealership in a 50 mile radius – heck. That’s because most people view food shopping as an entirely different process than shopping for other items – especially high-ticket items.

I really will show you how to enjoy savings of 30% . Is this you? Do you light your cigars with $100 bills? Do you consider yourself the equal of the guy in the ‘Monopoly” game with the monacle and the bow tie? If so. It’s no big deal for someone like that to dismiss the $40. will shudder at the thought of clipping grocery coupons.40% – even 50% off your grocery bill. and happy savings! 5 . Does this make any sense to anybody??? Imagine the headlines if we had 'truth in advertising' and the grocery stores were forced to follow it: "Nobody Soaks You Better". Sure. a new car can last you many years with a bit of regular maintenance.000 or more per year. enjoy. And at the end of the day. it's pretty much a one-time investment. and I really can show you how to do it. They can ridicule the coupon-clippers and laugh that they tip more than that to the valet parkers at their country club. If so. Welcome to the bizarre world of economics 101. or "Why Pay Less When We Can Charge You More?" Of course. week in and week out.000 in savings they could enjoy over the course of their life. Read. "I'm not poor!" they insist.000 or $50. if your money grows on trees or you discover the secret of alchemy. They represent 15% to 20% of most household budgets. put this book down immediately and go count your Krugerrands! I’m guessing. But the same people who will drive 5 miles out of their way to save a nickel on gasoline. that you’re NOT that guy. I'm being facetious. and just maybe you would enjoy saving $100 or $200 per month. as if they couldn't use an extra $1. yet most people are PROUD to pay full price for everything from produce to pizza pies to polka-dot party plates. But groceries are bought every single week of every single year. Just maybe you don't carry a money clip with a wad of $100 bills. perhaps.receipts. you probably don't need to clip coupons. You see. like clockwork. "You'll Pay More – And LIKE It". take a deep breath and relax: this book is for you. and you’ll get the answer immediately.

Randall Putala Author P. If you find yourself drifting back into old habits. I've listed my "101 Big Ideas" at the end of each chapter to summarize the key points.S. 6 . refer to these time and again for a quick 'refresher course' to help you save money throughout your lifetime. just breeze through the “101 Big Ideas” to remember how to get back on track.

let's determine what type of grocery shopper you are at present. OUT OF MY WAY. I'll buy whatever is in front of me or whatever catches my eye today. I'd like to save money. I'll save 30% or more on my groceries. 4. I may end up with all the wrong stuff and I'm not sure if I'm getting a good deal. and pick the cheapest one. Which of the following grocery shoppers best describes you? 1. I'M IN A HURRY. Let me compare the prices of each item on the shelf. I want the best for my family and I'll buy it even if I can't afford it. Let me grab the most expensive fruits and vegetables and the most expensive precooked items at the deli counter. I've got a family to feed. but it's just not possible with my schedule. I'll be out of here in no time. AND I'M FRUGAL. JUST GIVE ME SOMETHING TO EAT. advertising campaign. AND I'M CHOOSY. I've reviewed my store's sales flyer in advance and selected the special deals and coupons I'm going to use. I can find some other area of my life to cut costs – maybe. I'M IN A HURRY. I'M CHOOSY. I'M IN A HURRY. I'm too busy. Let me grab the highest-quality items on the shelf (based on brand name. I'M LOST. just give me the makings of a quick meal and I'm out of here. 5. 3. but at least I'm bringing home something edible. 2. I WANT THE BEST STUFF. I'll easily pay only a FRACTION of what most others pay and my family will probably be 7 .Chapter 1: What Color is Your Shopping Cart? Before we discuss ways to save money at the grocery store. LET ME COMPARE. I'm going to select the finest core ingredients and plan my meals as I go based on the best deals I find in my store today. I've planned out my shopping trip to cut my in-store time to a minimum. or position on the shelf ). highest price. Time is not as important to me as saving money.

Now.eating better and healthier food than theirs. Change your mindset. and you will lower your food costs. You CANNOT CONTROL the prices that the grocery store charges you. Here. and you'll lower your food costs. Wouldn't you like to be in that final group? Welcome to the first meeting of "Grocery Shoppers Anonymous". If that paragraph didn’t resound like a fire alarm in your brain. The MINDSET you bring into the grocery store is what determines the amount you will pay for your food. It's a very good sign that you're willing to attend today's meeting. please read it again. our therapy starts with the MINDSET you carry with you into the store. 8 . a first-names-only group for people who habitually pay too much for their groceries. It’s very important. So do it. Change your mindset. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 1 BIG IDEA 1: The MINDSET you bring with you into the grocery store is what determines the amount you will pay for your food. It's that simple. because this means you've acknowledged the problem and are willing to take action to change it. But you CAN CONTROL your mindset about the items you will need to prepare your meals and hence you CAN CONTROL the items you put into your cart. It's that simple.

c. Unhappy campers. Conversely. Does your family ever politely suggest that your menu choices somehow fail to live up to their expectations? (Or perhaps they throw their full plates into the sink and yell "this food #*!)@"</&#s!"). If you often find one of your kids standing in front of the refrigerator shouting. they're a good indication that you are purchasing the wrong items – or 9 . If any of these symptoms apply to the food situation in your home. you may not be making smart choices for your family. b. High grocery expenses. or pantry months after the fact. freezer. A budgeting problem is hardly ever managed by reducing the AMOUNT of food you bring home. you probably have a troupe of unhappy campers and it's your job as the conscientious and devoted parent you are to address this problem. "there's nothing to eat".Chapter 2: The "7 Deadly Sins" (Signs that you may be losing the "grocery game") 1. A strategy like this does not make for happy campers and is rarely sustainable. What percent of your family's take-home monthly income is going towards food? Is it reasonable. d. Uneaten goods. 3. you're probably suffering from an insufficient food supply. If this is the case. You have items that you never seem to run out of. and everyone likes different things from time to time. Keep your receipts for one month. 4. If the food that you thought you needed is still in your fridge. Are you experiencing these symptoms? a. Everyone is different. This is also known as spending too much on not enough. You get significant complaints whenever you serve the items you purchase. and they sometimes go bad before you realize it. Add up the total of all your grocery purchases. or is it OUT OF CONTROL? 2. Insufficient food supply. you have items that disappear as soon as you bring them home. You never seem to get around to cooking the items you purchase.

There is a HUGE disconnect between this premise and the reality of the situation. 6. item by item. Your family just isn't "into" to the food you're cooking. You can adequately feed a family of 5 for a few dollars if you select the right foods and recipes. Binge snacking. Excessive leftovers. It's important to correct this type of eating disorder early-on – and this book can help you. Sometimes the items that looked so good at the store cause palpitations when you see what you actually paid for them.) The primary job of grocery store marketers is to make you believe that you NEED their product to adequately feed and appease your family. You're cooking too much food. keep reading. "how could you pay $X for THAT?" You probably don't want to admit that you didn't check the price in the first place. and your budget will 10 . b. so you did. (More on this subject later in the book. Your significant other might even weigh in with their opinion. 7. so you put it in your cart. 5.the wrong quantities of items – for your family's needs. It just looked good at the time. The TV commercials you watch and the magazine ads you read are designed by food manufacturers to steer you away from cooking fresh foods and steer you toward buying their the high-priced pre-mixed concoctions. or you're making too many different dishes during a given time frame. but few people notice it. Have you ever come home from the grocery store and really looked at your receipt? I mean more than just glancing at it – I mean reading it line for line. You may not even know WHY you put it in your cart. Are frequent snacks replacing meal times in your household? Do your kids skip the meals you cook only to wolf down an entire bag of chips at midnight? Eating the wrong kinds of food – at the wrong times – in the wrong quantities – can very quickly translate into serious health problems. Steer yourself back to the basics. Do you routinely throw a significant amount of food in the trash or down the drain? This means one of two things: a. Sticker shock. Your cooking proportions are too large. But something made you want to take that action. You're cooking the wrong stuff.

Re-program your brain to ignore these messages and rely on your own common sense to buy core ingredients instead. pre-cooked. 11 . Big Idea Recap – Chapter 2 BIG IDEA 2: Grocery prices are rising faster than just about any other commodity in your life.thank you for it. but remember that in today's economy you're going to have to work harder JUST TO STAY EVEN. BIG IDEA 5: The TV commercials you watch. The second choice may seem a little painful at first. it doesn't matter what you're buying or what you're cooking: something is significantly wrong in your relationship with food. If you can learn a few simple techniques to stretch your food budget and allow them to eat BETTER. you'll all be happier and healthier. you either have to sacrifice some of the things you currently enjoy. Is your income rising to keep pace? If not. the print ads in your magazines. BIG IDEA 4: If your garbage disposal consumes more food than your family. prebagged. and even the signs in the grocery store. or find a way to buy more for less. are all geared toward getting you to FORGET about cooking fresh and rely on pre-mixed. BIG IDEA 3: Your family is not going to be willing to eat LESS. expensive meals.

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Chapter 3: Here’s Your Sign
Let’s take a closer look at each of the 5 classic shopper types, and how grocery store owners attempt to extract the most possible cash out of each of your wallets – i.e. how each of your may be losing “the grocery game.” 1. "OUT OF MY WAY, I'M IN A HURRY". You just got off work. Latchkey kid #1 is at his friend's house waiting for you to get home. Sports jock kid #2 is due back from baseball practice in 45 minutes. Workaholic hubby gets home in about an hour. All three are expecting a good dinner, meticulously prepared by tender, loving you. Your approach: "GET OUT OF MY WAY, GALS, OR I'LL MOW YOU DOWN!" You're zooming through the aisles snagging boxes and cans of anything that looks fast and edible that will pacify the hungry mob at home. Saving money on groceries is just about the furthest thing on your mind. Until you balance the checkbook later that week. Uh-oh. "How did we spend $900 on groceries last month? That's UN-BEE-LEEVABLE! What, do you not check the prices? Don't you ever buy things on sale?" Here are some tips exclusively for this shopper type: a. BLOCK IT. Create a 'block' of recipes and ingredients that you can fall back on. I recommend buying a small pocket-sized spiral book. Write down the simple recipes for meals you know your family will eat. List the ingredients you'll need. Divide this notebook into 6 sections and highlight the bottom with a marker to create visual tabs for quick reference: i. Main Courses. List the simple things your family will eat like Sloppy Joes, Hamburgers, Casserole, Chicken Fingers, etc. ii. Side Dishes. List things like Macaroni & Cheese, Baked Potatoes, Vegetable Medley, Au Gratin Potatoes, etc. iii. Snacks. List simple recipes you can make to pacify the hungry mob at odd hours of the day, things like Caramel Corn, Potato Skins, Nachos, Sandwiches, Fruit Salads, etc.

b. REPLACE IT. Use these blocks of recipes to purchase core ingredients at the store, INSTEAD of the bags of pre-mixed / precooked items you've been buying. As you build your list of substitute recipes, you'll slowly wean yourself away from buying the higherpriced items. Add to your list of recipes by browsing the web. Buy some cheap cookbooks at yard sales, or check some out from the library. Keep adding to your list of recipes. If the family hates it, tear the sheet out of your notebook. If they love it, put a star by it. The more you document your cooking successes and failures, the more you'll save. By writing down the things you learn in the kitchen – whether from a recipe, a book, or simple experimentation – the more you'll learn about how to both please your family with better recipes, and save on the ingredients that make up those recipes. You cannot rely on your memory to remember 'how you did it last time', but you can rely on your own notes. 2. I'M CHOOSY. LET ME COMPARE. If you're a slow and steady shopper but you just can't seem to save money, this description fits you to a T. You compare prices closely: The name-brand item is 99¢, and the off-brand is 89¢. So you buy the off-brand, thinking you're saving money. Not necessarily! If you had clipped a coupon from the Sunday paper for 25¢ off the name-brand item, your grocer would have doubled it, saving you 50¢ on the name-brand item. Final cost = 49¢ for the name-brand item vs. 89¢ for the off-brand item. You would have just reduced your cost of that item by almost 45%! Suggestions for this category of shopper: a. CLIP IT. Clip coupons for every conceivable item you might buy at the store. You're already good at comparing prices. Factor in the power of coupons; it can really impact your budget. b. COMPARE IT. If you're good at reviewing ingredients, compare the cost of buying the fresh ingredients vs. buying the premixed items. For example, if you like the convenience of frozen bagged dinners, consider buying larger portions of each key ingredient, and then chopping down and bagging your OWN version of the premixed dinners. You can prepare 5 or 10 meals in a single afternoon, and lower your cost of each meal by 50% or more!


3. I'M IN A HURRY, AND I'M CHOOSY. This type of shopper is both finicky and non-frugal. You're the grocery manager's dream customer. They place the most expensive and appealing items at the end caps of the aisles and in the aisle bins, knowing you'll like the look of these particular selections and won't consider the alternatives or the lower-priced items. You are perhaps the hardest nut to crack in the grocery savings game. The best advice I can give you is as follows: a. PORTION CONTROL. Continue to buy the premium ready-made foods your family loves; just buy less of it Make allnatural side dishes to add depth to your meal, while reducing costs. b. MEAL FILLERS. Add items to your menu that are fast, easy, and economical to cook. Put these on the plate along with smaller portions of the premium foods. This way your family fills up on healthy foods – just not the most expensive healthy foods. For example, let's say you typically bring home about $50 worth of Sushi to make a quick dinner for your crew. Try buying $15 worth of Sushi, but add side dishes such as rice with gravy, rice cakes topped with cream cheese and a small dollop of caviar (see, you can upgrade and still save money!) Or how about some celery pieces filled with tuna fish salad on the side? If you're creative, you can fill out the plate with lower-cost items that complement your original menu choices just fine. c. CHANGE THE SOURCE OF THE SAME FOOD YOU SERVE. For example, if you buy take-out Chinese once a week and spend $50 on one meal, consider buying $10 worth of Chinese food and adding some side dishes that you cook at home. One food manufacturer, everyone's favorite uncle, makes a fast-cooking preseasoned rice mix in foil pouches. There are always 2-for-1 deals at the store, and frequently there are coupons for this item in the Sunday paper. It means that you can get real deals on this product. It's fast to cook, and it's delicious. Plus, you'll end up paying 25¢ or so per portion vs. $2.00 per portion for rice from the Chinese take-out place. You don't have to give up the f ine foods you know and love. To save money, simply buy less of the premium meal items and prepare valuebased side dishes to supplement the main food selections. If you plan


4. Wet the potato with running water iii. and keep a small spiral binder to note down what you've learned. 8 minutes. For example. Try to get to the point that you're reaching your goal of the number of items in each category. Chances are you feel pretty hopeless when it's time to grocery shop. If you need more time. and write down notes for this. if you're trying to bake a potato in your microwave. etc. etc. like "3 meat items". and stop there. The best bets to get you on a more logical course in your grocery store visits are: a. Rest assured. that will turn out perfectly. Keep it simple. Be specific and write down the things you did that worked. change it to 7 minutes. clip them out and put them in an envelope. you may a problem. If you actually enjoy wandering around the grocery store like a lost helium balloon. "5 breakfast items". really. though. MASTER SOME SIMPLE FOOD ITEMS. Work on learning to cook individual items really well. JUST GIVE ME SOMETHING TO EAT. As you master each new step. If this works. writing down how many items you'll need that week from each category. write down the steps: i. Take really. small steps to organize your shopping trips. If you can find coupons in the Sunday paper for some of the things you like. all is not lost. Cook for 5 minutes on high. If you are this type of shopper. b. Sprinkle it with sea salt iv. try cooking 2 potatoes at once. as well as the things you did that DIDN'T work. Poke holes in potato with fork ii. until you get it absolutely right. the variety will make your meals healthier and enhance your main items as well. You're really more of an open slate and one of the easiest to set on the right course. closely followed by completion of your assigned task.these side dishes carefully. Next. Containment is the key word here. Make a simple list by category. You now have detailed notes that you can read anytime you plan to make a baked potato. START SMALL. Isn't that a great feeling? 16 . I'M LOST. great. you should be pretty open to new suggestions. REALLY. you're building your own cookbook of things that you know you can cook.

I WANT THE BEST STUFF. chock full of the finest foods in the store. you're ready for the master class. $70 or more – and his 'total savings' amount is $2. you CAN do better if you just review your options. was fascinated watching the 'amount due' total going down. You'll waste a lot of food and put up with unhappy diners every now and again – but use recipes and cook books to help get you 'in the ballpark'. $60. the more you'll save. It just takes practice to know what works. Some items will be necessities. When your 'total savings' amount is $50.500 or more per year on groceries. It will make you think about each of your selections and how they will affect your total. down. Since these are 'after tax' savings – it is like getting a $5. The guy in line behind you. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 3 BIG IDEA 6: The more you document.27 – he's kind of wondering what you did.500 – $3.000 – $3.000 raise at work. down. down. The tips and techniques outlined in this book will be like manna in the desert: you're ready to shop. By writing down the things you learn in the kitchen – whether by recipe. and you won't always have a coupon for them or an alternative lower-cost option. If you mentally prepare yourself to reach this level. Imagine being able to wheel your cart out of the supermarket. The checkout clerk and bag boy were amazed at how little you paid for so much food. I'M IN A HURRY. and stay cheap. 5. AND I'M CHEAP.Trial and error in the kitchen can be a valuable thing and it will help you determine what works for you. book. Get cheap. and then doing those same things next time you cook. Approach the grocery store with a mission in mind: to show the maximum amount of savings on your receipt at the end of the trip. Watch the cooking shows on TV to see how professional chefs do things. The reason it looks so effortless on TV is because cooking is really very simple. while kind of ticked off at how long the cashier took to scan all of your coupons. or simple trial & error – the more you'll learn about how to both please your family 17 . You can experience this every week – year-in and year-out – so you are literally saving $2. But with at least 70% of your shopping cart items.

The reason it looks so effortless to them. and save on the ingredients that make up those recipes. Approach the grocery store with a mission in mind: to show the maximum amount of savings on your receipt at the end of the trip. and stay cheap.with better recipes. BIG IDEA 8: You don't have to give up on the fine foods your family craves. is because cooking is really very simple. or an alternative lower-cost selection to make. Learn what works for you. To save money. But with at least 70% of your shopping cart items. 18 . you CAN do better if you just review your options. BIG IDEA 10: Get cheap. BIG IDEA 7: Want the convenience of 'single bag / single pan' cooking? Mix your own freezer bags full of core ingredients in advance. but you can rely on your own notes. Use recipes and cook books to help get you 'in the ballpark' of cooking success before you get started. Some items will be necessities. You cannot rely on your memory to remember 'how you did it last time'. and document it so you can continue to build on your simple successes in the kitchen. If you plan these side dishes carefully. Watch the cooking shows on TV to see how they do things. the variety will make your meals healthier and enhance the enjoyment of your main items. BIG IDEA 9: Trial and error in the kitchen can be a valuable thing and help you determine what works for you. and you can prepare an entire month's worth of meals in a single afternoon. It will make you think about each one of your selections and how they will affect your total. simply buy less of them and prepare value-based side dishes to supplement your main food selections. and you won't always have a coupon for it. But you'll waste a lot of food and have unhappy and unfed diners who won't appreciate your efforts.

Your second step on the road to recovery involves believe that you actually can pay less for your groceries. Stand by this realization. Once you can visualize the change you want.. visualize yourself paying $100.Chapter 4: The “12 Steps to Recovery” If you are a candidate "Grocery Shoppers Anonymous". What is REALLY going on here…? How do you really feel about food? Examine your motives for buying the types of food you buy. Write down how they make you feel. It can be a big help. Once you've taken a closer look at your groceries.) Step 1 – Acknowledge. Step 4 – Reflect. You don't have to eat foods you don't like but you've at least got to try out new things once in a while. and your weight. Change is all about visualization at this early stage. Take a close look at your mental relationship with food and your family's groceries. and what experiences in the past are causing you to make these purchases over and over again. If you don’t understand why you do the things you do. your mental attitude.. Step 5 – Affirm. Step 3 – Be Flexible. If you don't think you have a problem (or won't admit it) you won't get anywhere. Seriously. here is a list of the 12 steps on the road to recovery (with my apologies to every real 12step program out there. If you do what you've always done. If you still don’t understand the connection. write down the individual items that you think are causing the problem. you're probably going to be aware that some of the items that regularly appear in your shopping cart are perhaps not the best choices. If you're currently paying $200 per week. Step 6 – Reconsider. you've got to be prepared to try new things. seek professional counseling. and what they are doing to your health. Step 2 – Believe. You must first of all admit that you need help cutting your grocery costs. Once you've uncovered the current negatives 19 . you tend to get what you've always gotten. Make yourself accept it.

your refrigerator and your freezer.regarding your shopping habits. and if you like it – keep buying it. for the NEW me. Be open to the idea of putting new items in your shopping cart. and enter a new instruction. Too much change will cause rejection and abandonment of the whole project. Step 10 – Reject. Even the best chefs learn something new every day. “I can make a better choice that will become my NEW favorite. Step 7 – Be Humble. When you reach for that high-priced non-essential food item. or items that could be replaced with lower-cost selections. tofu instead of cheese. you must mentally shout out. put the guilty items back on the shelf. Write down every item that you probably shouldn't have purchased. Step 8 – Record. I’m entitled to this and no one can stop me from buying it. There's a lot for you to learn about food. items that cost too much. Take a notepad and physically stand in front of your pantry. Take it slow. Consider using lower-priced or healthier ingredients in your favorite recipes. and 'do the aisle again. I’ve always been able to afford it. When you have finished going down an aisle in the grocery store. Start experimenting with new ingredients and recipes.” When your conscious mind says this to your subconscious. review the items that you picked up in that aisle. Were they of the best value? Did you check to see if you had coupons for the items you selected? Did you consider other brands that might have been priced lower and been just as good? If not. Humilty is the stepstone of success. These are the "bad guys" that are eating a hole in your budget… Step 9 – Substitute.” Find a substitute. it's time to look at the positive solutions before you. Find new ways of doing things that work for you and your family. Acknowledge that you cannot remake yourself or your dietary selections overnight. You may be thinking. Now comes the fun part. buy it. Examples: plain yogurt instead of sour cream. turn around. “STOP!” Reset your mind.' Step 11 – Baby Steps. 20 . “I’ve always eaten this. your mind may think of it as a reward. cholesterol-lowering spread instead of butter.

If you saved $20 – put a $20 bill in your piggy back for a rainy day or a splurge event later in the year. and put it in a bank savings account immediately. Reward yourself for taking specific steps to lower your food costs. get 'cash back' equal to that amount. 21 .Step 12 – Rejoice. You can open one at the in-store bank that most grocery stores have these days. If you're very diligent.

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you're turning down the chance to save a ton of money. the richest people in the world tend to be incredibly frugal…believe it or not. REALITY: Only smart people use coupons. even $100 or more in savings on groceries? By not clipping and using store coupons. Would you turn it down. see if you can find your opinions among these common shibboleths. MYTH 1: Only poor people use coupons. When I go shopping. if I save $50 on my weekly groceries. 23 . They are always looking for ways to save. Imagine that you are at a social function where door prizes are being given away.Chapter 5: The Myths & Misconceptions of Store Coupons The core of any grocery savings plan is store coupons. save! Knowing the value of money is the first step to keeping and building even more money in the future. You'd snatch up the $50 and celebrate winning a valuable prize. Respect what you have been given and treat it properly. She's not exactly poor… Smart. I know that I probably could have saved a lot more if I had shopped correctly! By the way. Love them or hate them. Oprah Winfrey uses coupons. knowing how to value money is really what made them rich in the first place. People tend to have fixed opinions about grocery coupons. Let's examine the top 10 myths about store coupons. on the basis that you already earn a salary and don't really need the $50? Would you return it and ask that it be given to a poorer person – someone who could "really use it"? Of course not! It's found cash. yes – but not poor. Why then do people turn down $50 to $75. it doesn't matter. They're the number one promotional device in the grocery industry and you're going to have to come to terms with them. and it's your lucky day. and more will be given to you over time. The richest people in the world don't go around flashing money. In fact. save. I feel disappointed. and – unfortunately for their budgets – most of them are wrong. Imagine your name is drawn from a hat and the prize is a brand-new $50 bill.

and you really do work every moment of every day. "A penny saved is a penny earned". I'm talking about totally fun money… money that you can use to do anything you want.! 24 . Benjamin Franklin said it. here is a huge lesson that you can learn now or learn later: SAVING money is the same thing as EARNING money. let alone shopping for yourself. just imagine for a moment what you and your family could do with an extra $2.. consider opening your mind up to ways that can SAVE your money so you can do more with what you've got.. not me. why not just go back to the office for another hour each week? Would that be easier? Folks. REALITY: If your spare time is worth more than $100 per hour. and not the billing rate you would command if you were in the office.MYTH 2: If you can afford to pay full price. If your spare time is exactly the same as your work time. you're very lucky. you're probably better off hiring someone to do your grocery shopping.. Even if you’re making tons and tons of money during your work time. using coupons is a waste of time. and “oh so many” of today's ultra-successful Hummer-driving success stories make this conclusion. You probably deserve a break. let alone using coupons. When you arrive at this conclusion. And now his picture is on the $100 bill. a monster home entertainment system …whatever you consider TOTALLY FRIVOLOUS and TOTALLY DESIRABLE. remember Jack: all work / no play… it doesn’t have a happy ending. But if you're like the 99% of us who have to live on a fixed income or a regular paycheck.000 or $3. be sure you're talking about your SPARE time. If you have an easy way to 'turn on the tap' to put more money in your pocket.000 per year. Would you give less than an hour of your time each week to get it? Would you actually stoop to getting out a pair of scissors and clipping coupons to get it? If not. money to blow on a super vacation.. By this I mean the actual cash you would be generating in your spare time. so take one. a new hot tub.

View it however you like. You're still on a pay-as-you-go plan. Same criminals / same effect: the situation has just been prettied-up to make you feel better about it. along with the other techniques described in this book. If you truly feel you do not need to save on groceries. That's real money. “Vinnie” the shylock won’t be driving by to break your knee caps. it's a nice feeling! MYTH 4: Grocery coupons are just a come-on to get you to buy overpriced items or "weird" items you really don't need.Here's another way to look at wealth and financial status. REALITY: Grocery coupons are issued for hundreds of everyday items – things you already buy for your family. you're written in that creditor's shylock book. many of them are for new items that you may not want or need. Yes. MYTH 3: You end up paying about the same. It's not rocket science. tell me this: do you have any credit card debt? If you owe ANY creditor ANY amount of cash. Instead. You'll have more money set aside at the end of the month and that can go towards your debt. you will end up paying less in hard cash at the grocery checkout. That is a fact. no” you might say. Some are also for 25 . “I don’t deal with a shylock or a gangster. It means that instead of writing a check for $150 for groceries. one that will take an immense amount of financial change to dig your way out of. “Vincent” from the bank will simply break your credit score until you cough up the “vig” – 21%+ interest on the balance due. Trust me. REALITY: Effective couponers can literally cut their food cost in half without even trying. and it really does stay in your bank account. “Oh. Picture it this way: saving on your groceries can be a valid way to help you pay off your debt faster. even if you use coupons. If you use coupons effectively. If you write smaller checks to your grocery store. you write a check for $75. my credit card is with one of America’s premier banking institutions.” Okay. great. you'll have more money left in your checking account at the end of the day.

Smart money management never goes out of style. Pennies that you save today will compound into dollars over time. But guess what? If you don't want it. will you care what those nay-sayers think? I didn’t think so. the techniques described in this book provide a real opportunity for you to start doing so. If you can already afford these things every year without putting a dent in your budget. picture the people who make you feel destitute in the grocery store: are they on the plane with you? When you're headed to Paris to spend the money you've saved. But I don't know of a single family who would turn down a free weekend in the Bahamas or at Disney World. Would you turn these things down if they were offered to you? I didn’t think so.. But weak money management can seriously cramp your style. REALITY: If you truly are independently wealthy. Then..products that are overpriced. Maybe not today but certainly later in life. if you don't regularly treat yourself and your family to items like these. MYTH 5: People will think I'm destitute if I use coupons.. when you're jetting across the Atlantic with a glass of Chardonnay in your hand. Small debt that you start to rack up today will 26 . You shouldn't use coupons as an excuse to buy things you don't need. or you simply don't want the nicer things in life. or a free trip to Paris including hotel and airfare. you're right: maintain your affluent / happy / free-wheeling image. don't need it. and don't use coupons. However. don't buy it! There are hundreds of other coupons available for items your family really does want. Just remember this: all grocery products were new at some point in time. You'd be ignoring the other principles we discuss in this book about planning your shopping list before you head out the door and really thinking about what your family wants and needs. You've been buying your favorites your whole life. I don't know of a single person who would say "no" to getting a free new wardrobe every year. Maybe you'll find some new favorites if you just try them one time.. need and use every day. Use the coupons you need and don't use the ones you don't. or don't like it. you probably don't need to use coupons.

and become repeat customers. Manufacturers issue coupons according to a well-structured plan to build market share in specific parts of the country. The grocery manufacturers want MARKET SHARE. the more products they sell. and that can be very hard to overcome. Couponing is the #1 PROMOTIONAL TOOL available to the grocery industry. higher-priced items. In fact. The food manufacturer would jump for joy if they saw you. and increases sales for the farmers and food producers. super-premium items. REALITY: Grocery manufacturers WANT you to use their coupons. enjoy the products.compound into larger debt over time. not theirs. an affluent shopper. they wouldn't issue the coupons. The moral of this story: saving pennies leads to saving dollars. THIS IS WHY THEY PAY TO PRINT THE 27 . you really do have too much time or money on your hands… MYTH 7: Grocers do not want affluent shoppers to use coupons. If they didn't want consumers to buy their products. etc. using their coupon to buy their product. REALITY: Who spends the most at grocery stores? It's the affluent households who can afford the more 'frivolous' products: pre-mixed items. If you're crying for the Fortune 500-listed grocery manufacturers. Saving dollars early in life will lead to a much more robust lifestyle in your future. regardless of who redeems them. Let the mockers laugh: you’re building for your future. Who is most likely to become a repeat buyer of higher-priced items? That's right: affluent households. They want people to try their products. so this increases jobs for the people at the factory. They must replenish the sold product. Coupons help spur the economy. MYTH 6: It's unethical to use coupons if I can afford to pay full price. They don't pay tens of thousands of dollars to distribute them in the hope that nobody will use them. Eva Peron insisted that Argentina should not cry for her (despite being an enormously popular public figure and despite dying young… see the movie "Evita" for details). the higher the coupon redemption rate.

They are DESPERATE to have you buy a box of their latest creation and let your family try it. and on and on for years. They're attempting to BUY your loyalty… 28 . etc. MYTH 8: It doesn't make sense to buy products that I don't normally buy. This is the manufacturer's goal. packaging. They develop new lines of products. they're actually very smart. And when you go to buy the product again. it works for the store manager who makes his or her money whether you use the coupon or not. So the hope is that you will become a loyal purchaser and you will pay full-price for the item – this time. By printing coupons that offer you a large discount on the product. new flavors. They want you in their store and they want you to fill your cart with the best items in their store They're not worried about processing a few coupons if it keeps you coming back. No company would incur the massive expense of testing. and it works for your family: you get cheap or FREE stuff initially. They're not putting coupons out there to be charitable.COUPONS IN THE FIRST PLACE! Grocers make money every time a shopper selects their store over the competition. they want to overcome any price resistance and the natural tendency to avoid trying something unfamiliar. the next time.) Couponing works for everyone – it works for the manufacturer who sells more products. you won't have a coupon – but you WILL have the request from your family to ‘get more’ of the product.. and you get to try the best new and improved products that the industry has to offer. chances are high that you and/or your family will LOVE IT. REALITY: Again. new combinations. and it works: my kids ask me to buy specific brand names of items that they enjoyed the first time I bought them (brands they wouldn't even know about if I hadn't made the initial purchase using a store coupon. because they believe that consumers will like them. and distributing a product if they didn't believe the buying public would like it. The people employed by the leading food manufacturers are not stupid. So guess what: once you try the product. let's look at this situation from the food manufacturer's perspective.

2.000. couponing will only add one or two hours to your shopping time per week and it can easily save you $50 per week on groceries Plus. etc. If you honestly couldn't pay cash on the barrel today. Imagine what your loan balances would look like if you paid down $5. Or. electronics. Save your pennies. 4.000 or more per year in your spare time – without working – and it's something that 29 . you need to save more money. Case closed. 3. Do you have the very latest clothing. Do you owe ANY money on ANY loan. Just about everyone could benefit from saving money. home furnishings. you've just lost your vote. (Yogi Berra should have said that…) MYTH 10: Couponing is hard to do. cars. Do you currently owe a balance on a credit cards? If you answered YES. Why would someone like ME need to use grocery coupons? REALITY: Few people are doing as well as they could be. including your home mortgage? Couponing could save you $5.? If not. Do you honestly have more money than you need? If so. if you have some other method to earn $1. $2. Examples: 1. give some to charity. and a real waste of time. and save some for your own use.000 per year.MYTH 9: I make a good living.000 per year. At least not the same tomorrow as today. you're right: you don't need to save money. why don't you run out today and pay cash for everything you've ever want? If you could. dimes and dollars now! Because if you spend like there's no tomorrow – there might not BE a tomorrow. REALITY: If you do it right. If you don't mind paying hundreds of dollars in interest each year. nickels. and couponing is a step in the right direction. it can be fun. You’ll feel better about it. you're right – you don't need to use coupons but you also need to have your head examined (!). If you are independently wealthy. couponing is not for you. or simply don't care about money.

And for you. you should pursue it. Save money on groceries. consider hiring a neighborhood kid to clip your coupons for $10 per hour. But weak money management can seriously cramp your style. because that is what made them rich. small debt that you start to rack up today will compound into 30 . BIG IDEA 12: Saving money is the same thing as EARNING money. and use the money to pay off your debt quicker. open your mind to ways that you can SAVE money and do more with what you've got. BIG IDEA 15: All grocery products were new at some point in time. Yes. couponing takes a little effort. But the ends justify the means. Yes. If you have an easy way to 'turn on the tap' to put more money in your pocket. BIG IDEA 14: Write smaller checks to your grocery enjoy . If you're like the 99% of us who have to live on a fixed income or a regular paycheck. Maybe not today – but later in the month or later in the year – and certainly later in life. and you'll have more money left in your checking account at the end of the day.. BIG IDEA 13: If you have credit card balances or any amount of consumer debt. this is simple math – but sometimes the obvious doesn’t hit home until you think about it. you need to GET OUT OF DEBT as quickly as you can.. You've been buying your favorites your whole life. it's less work for them than clipping your lawn. it's the chance to make $40 an hour without lifting a finger…or even a pair of scissors… Big Idea Recap – Chapter 5 BIG IDEA 11: The richest people in the world still do many things the way they did early in their life. you're very lucky. If your spare time truly is worth more than $50 per hour. Pennies that you save today will compound into dollars over time. Maybe you'll find some new favorites if you just try them one time? BIG IDEA 16: Smart money management never goes out of style. Conversely.

BIG IDEA 17: Don’t worry about taking money out of the pockets of the major food manufacturing companies. and so will they. They want you in their store. it's like making $40 an hour without lifting a finger. Or a pair of scissors… BIG IDEA 22: Be charitable to yourself by using coupons and selecting brands that are on sale. They don’t worry about overcharging you. consider hiring a neighborhood kid to clip your coupons for $10 per hour. And for you. and that can be very hard to overcome. BIG IDEA 21: If your time truly is worth more than $50 per hour. you probably won’t make the same income that you make today. give it to a real charity. they're actually very. and they’re already rich! BIG IDEA 18: Grocers make money every time a shopper selects their store over the competition.. and they want you to fill your cart as high as it will go. very smart. BIG IDEA 19: The people employed by the leading food manufacturers are not stupid. They're not putting coupons out there to be charitable. they're issuing them to gain market share and win your loyalty. you'll feel better. 31 .larger debt over time. in fact.. it's less work for him or her than clipping your lawn. If you really don't need to save money. Save money NOW while you’ve still got it – and you’ll have a lot more money later in life when you’ll need it more. They're not worried about accepting a few coupons if it keeps you coming back. with the best items in their store. You might even say – perish the thought – that they're attempting to BUY your loyalty… BIG IDEA 20: Later in life.

32 .

If not. leave immediately and find a store that does. DOUBLING: Find out if the grocery store offers DOUBLE COUPON redemption. 1. etc. This is the creation of a PLAN. Think of the actual process of grocery shopping as being like a football game. up to 99¢. Learn them.Chapter 6: Strategy and Tactics: How To Win the War for Your Wallet As any military strategist will tell you. you WILL save money. regulations and insider tips you'll need to know before you hit the grocery store. The "grocery game" is a lot like a football game: If you PLAN to save money and are PREPARED to save money before you hit the aisles of your grocery store. there are two parts to any battle plan: a. NEVER try to use an expired coupon. 2. and the many rules. 33 . Let's look at the STRATEGY behind couponing. 20 coupon maximum per visit). b. Live them. Also find out if the store limits the number of coupons you can redeem in one visit. up to 50¢. The battle to save money at the grocery store begins long before you set foot in the store. The secret to tackling any major goal is to PLAN YOUR WORK. (e. up to 60¢.e. Generals always plan before they implement an attack on the battlefield. TACTICS. then WORK YOUR PLAN. Players train and exercise for months before they play the first game of the season. STRATEGY. This is the actual implementation of the plan. EXPIRATION: Check expiration dates religiously before you shop. BASIC COUPONING STRATEGY Here are the 10 "sacred rules" of couponing. i. DOUBLING LIMITS: Find out the maximum coupon value for doubling. 3. They are in excellent physical condition and are well-versed on their team's playbook long before the first ball is hiked.g.

MATCHING REQUIREMENTS: Is a matching purchase needed to redeem the coupon. even low-value coupons. or must you buy 2?) 5. (can you buy only 1. EXPIRATION Food companies issue coupons to boost seasonal sales of their products. BRAND REQUIREMENTS. e.) 6. Take a minute to scan through ALL of your coupons before 34 . If your coupon is expired. HYPER VALUES. Plus. the scanner will catch it instantly. 7. BOGO POLICY: Find out the store's policy on BOGO (Buy One / Get One Free) specials. if you knowingly attempt to redeem an expired coupon you are committing attempted fraud. Almost every coupon you clip will have an expiration date. (HINT: The highest-value coupon may not provide the best overall value. CLIP EVERYTHING.g. or is there a specific choice requirement defined on the coupon? 9. NEVER try to redeem a coupon for a brand other than the one shown on the coupon. Most coupons are brand specific. flavors and variations of the product.4. QUANTITY REQUIREMENTS: Does the coupon require you to buy 2 or more of the item to get the discount? 8. buy milk & cookies to get X¢ off on the cookies? 10. Clip and keep ALL coupons for products you may want. Coupons are negotiable documents. You will enjoy a double discount that gives you the item for a very low cost. The scanners in most grocery stores identify each coupon by linking the barcode on your coupon to a database of valid coupons in circulation. Look for items that are on sale that you have a coupon for. They have real value. CONTAINER SIZE / FLAVOR REQUIREMENTS: Is the coupon redeemable for all sizes. or even FREE in some cases! Let’s review each of these 10 strategy items in detail. especially to the grocer who accepts them. Many check out clerks check the expiration date before they scan the coupon.

more and more consumers redeem the coupons. (It’s unlikely that anyone has ever served jail time for attempting to redeem an expired grocery coupon. So you are really attempting to steal from the store.) As I stated above. But just bear in mind that the store is simply the brokering agent for the coupon. Over the next few weeks. and your store manager may choose to call you out on it. so there's another reason to be aware of coupons that are almost at their expiration date (but not beyond it. Do it once too often. they have no chance of getting credit for it. the food companies use coupons to boost seasonal sales of their products.. the total number starts to decline and eventually trails off. So when they issue a coupon on January 1st with an expiration date of March go shopping so you can stay on the right side of the law… and your store manager. 35 . From that point on. they are anticipating a 'bell curve' in their response.. so the total number of coupons redeemed goes up. they start to appear in stores. At some point near the middle of the promotion.) The expiration date can actually work in your favor. the volume of coupons redeemed hits a peak. If they accept a coupon that is expired. It looks something like this: The day the coupons are distributed.

avoid these coupons if you are not willing to settle for the face discount value. See the 'BOGO' section later in this book to find out how this works. If you were a product manager at the food company. When you see a store offering tripling of coupon values. 36 .If you charted out the total number of coupons redeemed from January 1st through March 31st. In areas of EXTREME competition where the grocery chains are fighting for market share. and they may set a limit of 10 coupons per visit. In areas with only marginal competition. Some manufacturers are printing the words "DO NOT DOUBLE" in the margins of the coupon. and may do something to boost sales until the next coupons are distributed. and a limit of 20 coupons per visit – or no limit at all. DOUBLING Coupon doubling is a popular technique used by grocery stores to attract shoppers. VERY FEW PEOPLE USE COUPONS and this can be to your advantage. Find out if your store doubles "DO NOT DOUBLE" coupons. you would be concerned about declining sales at this point. or offered as a 'BOGO'. This is when many products are put on special. you would see that very few coupons are redeemed in the last week of the promotion – between March 24th & March 31st. you may find TRIPLING of coupons from time to time. you MUST shop there to get the most for your money – regardless of your store preference. The retailers know that only a small percentage of shoppers will actually take advantage of this offer – and those shoppers that do use coupons will often have just one or two that they found in their morning paper. a grocer may limit doubling to coupons up to 30¢ or 35¢ in value. especially senior citizens and families with children. Some important rules to know about doubling: 1. it's common to see doubling limits increased to 99¢ in value. It's almost mandatory when there are multiple grocers in your area competing for your business. In areas with high competition. Your store may or may not choose to double the coupon – and unless you know their policy for certain.

the net savings effect is multiplied. BEFORE you shop there. Two factors have contributed to your savings here: a. you will very likely be disappointed at the check out counter. It’s true. b. When you view the face value of your store coupons.19 As you can see. Check the prices for ALL brands for which you have coupons. but it will pay off big 37 . You may want to use a lower-value coupon.29 on sale $1.2. Doubling value of the coupon. Determine the net redemption value of your coupon before you get to the checkout counter. the coupon net value difference here seems negligible – only 10¢ net difference.55 $1.59 $2. But combined with the sale price. You can eventually achieve a lower net-cost per unit by selecting a brand for which you have a lower-value coupon. This will take a little practice. you will save 40¢ by choosing Brand B – EVEN THOUGH your coupon had about half the face value of the coupon for Brand A. DOUBLING LIMITS Every grocery store sets its own limits on the high value of coupon doubling. The most common level you will find is 50¢. You must know the doubling limit of the store you are shopping in. Store sale. If you don't. IF the store has the item on sale. More about this later.00 $. you should get in the habit of determining their actual redemption value in the store you are shopping in. Again. which could net out a greater discount for you. Here is an example: Brand Name Store Price Coupon Value Net Cost To You After Coupon Doubling Brand A Spaghetti Sauce Brand B Spaghetti Sauce $2. A lesser-value coupon that is doubled can be worth more than a larger coupon that is NOT doubled.59 (coupon not doubled) $1. although some stores go as low as 35¢ and some go as high as 99¢. The price savings on Brand B seems very small but can often make a huge net difference in your total grocery bill.

time in terms of savings. EXPIRATION DATE. Here are some examples on how you should train your mind to think of coupons of different valuations. the cost of storing the excess items may be excessive. Smaller-value coupons can often lead to larger savings at the grocery store. 38 . The items must sell before the expiration date or be discarded at a 100% loss to the store when the expiration date is reached. the lower the coupon value. Alternatively. 2. Why do stores offer BOGOs? 1. the highest value coupon does NOT always result in the greatest discount. the greater the net discount.10 60¢ 75¢ As you can see. It may be cheaper to clear the item out at half the price. BOGO POLICY Remember those old 'alien from outer space' movies where the jet pilot reported a "Bogie at 10:00?" You need to be on similar high alert in the grocery store: "BOGO in aisle 10!" What is a BOGO? It's a "Buy One / Get One" deal. you get the second item for FREE when you buy one at the regular price. OVERSTOCK. Sometimes. They may have ordered too many of a given item and they simply do not have room to store them. This is why knowing the doubling limit of your grocery store is so important. Perhaps the items did not sell as quickly as the store manager had anticipated and the inventory is approaching its expiration date. This example is for a store that has set a 55¢ maximum value on coupon doubling. Coupon Face Value Redemption Value After Doubling 25¢ 35¢ 55¢ 60¢ 75¢ 50¢ 70¢ $1.

However. By advertising a number of BOGO deals. buy two and put the extra item in your pantry or freezer. You cannot be timid when it comes to knowing the store's policy on BOGOs. Why? Because they have nothing to gain by doing so. (although they are often chain-wide promotions offered by the leading grocers. 4. and it can make a big difference in your checkout total. Grocery stores will blast their BOGO deals in big type on the front page of their flyers. Shoppers may visit one time to get the BOGO deals.3. LOSS LEADER. and in many stores it is NEVER the case. and the manager is hoping they enjoy the shopping experience and the values enough to switch stores permanently. Here's an example to help you understand why: 39 . This is not always the case. BOGO promotions are quick for a retailer to implement. Many shoppers will assume that if an item is on BOGO special. if the BOGO is for a non-perishable item that you could use in the future. You could also consider donating it to Second Harvest or your local food bank. someone can use the second item. the manufacturer's representative may give the store free merchandise to give away under a BOGO deal. Be bold: walk up to the customer service counter and ask the manager whether you MUST buy 2 of the item. or whether you can buy just one at half the price. This is the ideal time to use your store coupon. do not pass up the BOGO deal. they can often entice shoppers to change their store of preference. they can buy just one and pay half the price. MANUFACTURER PROMOTION. They will NOT advertise their actual BOGO redemption policy. To build market share for a specific product in a specific store. and they'll be glad to get it. If you honestly don't need two of an item. Many times they are store-specific. The store may be in an intense market share fight with a competitor. If you were going to buy the item anyway. It is your right to know. or you cannot use two containers before the expiration date. it makes no sense to buy the extra (second) item.) A store may offer a quick two or three day BOGO promotion to clear out stockpiled inventory.

And 40 .50. rather than buy one at full price and take a second box free. 50¢ off on one box purchase.50. You have now saved $2. regular price $3. 50¢ off on one box purchase. To keep senior customers happy. get one free.PRODUCT: COUPON VALUE: BOGO SALE PRICE: NET COST TO YOU: Gummy Gunk Cereal. Store doubles the coupon value to $1. $2.75 off normal retail on one box of cereal.50 – more than 54% OFF RETAIL! SUPER SECRET: Some stores have altered their BOGO policy to meet the needs of senior citizens. $1. CHECK WITH YOUR STORE BEFORE YOU BUY! If your store allows half off purchasing of one item in a BOGO deal.25 each. Seniors who live alone often do not need two boxes of a product. look how much you could save in this same example: PRODUCT: COUPON VALUE: Gummy Gunk Cereal. Buy one at $3. BOGO SALE PRICE AT STORE WITH “1/2 Buy one at $1. 21 oz.00.50 for two boxes of cereal.00.25 per box of cereal. Box. they consume so little that the second box would become stale before they use it.50.75. Store doubles the coupon value to $1. many stores will allow you to buy one box at half price. Box. regular price $3.75 for one box of cereal. 21 oz. You have now saved $2. for a grand total savings of $4. OFF ONE” POLICY: NET COST TO YOU: $0. a savings of over 73% OFF RETAIL! CLIP EVERYTHING Let's cut to the chase: there is no need to clip coupons for 'Super Sugar Shack' cereal if you're a senior and don't have grandkids.

OR. A good way to tell is to look at the photo on the coupon. it's the thrill of the hunt. you can look at the logos on the box to verify that it's one of their brands. and you'll especially like them if you get them for FREE or close to free. or coupons that at first glance seem worthless. it means that it is ONLY good for Brand A Peanut Butter. over and over again.29 79¢ Sale Price 99¢ 59¢ Coupon Value 25¢ 30¢ Doubled Value 60¢ 50¢ Net Cost To You FREE 29¢ 49¢ % Savings Off Original Price 100% 82% 63% $1. not Brand B or Brand C. and they deserve the sale it generates. For example. No legitimate grocer would accept a coupon for a brand other than the one shown. Where this gets tricky is when the coupon is for a 'family' of products. some cereal companies will issue coupons good for two or more boxes of any brand of cereal they make. BRAND REQUIREMENTS When a coupon says it is good for Brand A Peanut Butter. You might like the brands you haven't tried. And the 'nickel and dime' coupons that you might think worthless can really add up in certain situations. the Brand A marketing people spent big bucks to get that coupon into distribution. Plus. Be doubly careful about checking 41 . After all. it is a thrill you will enjoy every week. and not clip it. But as you can see in our example.69 $1.there is no need to clip a coupon for denture cream if you're twentyfive and have a full set of pearly whites. Here's an example: Item Hot Sauce Crackers Ketchup Original Price $1.29 50¢ $1. If you follow my techniques for regular. which will typically show each brand they manufacture. it results in what you will come to know as 'Coupon Nirvana'. a feeling of euphoria and power. And that's just about the best possible way to stretch your grocery budget. What I mean by 'Clip Everything' is do not avoid coupons for brands you haven't tried. It's not the free merchandise that is the reward.00 Many people will pass over a 30¢ coupon as trivial. it can lead to getting a product totally FREE. systematic couponing.

The scanner will reject the coupon if you haven't selected the exact same type shown on the coupon. They're great for finicky eaters. SIGNS LIE. one frozen dinner manufacturer offers "Duos". There was a giant display sign in the middle of three different variations of the brand's bacon. but the sign was placed among the regular versions of the product. only to realize at the checkout line that the coupon is for a different implementation of the same brand. This is especially true with brands that have extensive product lines such as 'healthy' or 'diet' foods. WRONGO-PONGO! The ad stated that the "Natural Choice" version was on sale. but bad if you select the wrong variation and have to pay full price for it. and sign wording. For example. The variation that was on sale wasn't even near the display sign! Was this an intentional deception on the part of the store manager. be on the alert that it's easy to select the wrong product. you'd pay about $7. sign placement. You should always double-check the flavor or brand variation. 42 . "Singles". I had an experience recently where the store's print ad said that a particular brand of bacon was on BOGO sale. If you picked up two of the non-sale variation. Another thing I'd like to point out about Brand Requirements is that you can't believe your eyes when it comes to signs. Another thing to watch is that you select the BRAND VARIATION a given coupon is valid for. "Grilled Specialties" and "Bowls". If you see a wall full of products with the same brand logo. so just go ahead and pick any two and get the deal.that you receive your discount on these types of coupons.50 per package). or simply an honest mistake on the part of a sleepy stock clerk? You be the judge… but the price of the sale bacon was $4.00 extra for the same amount of meat. All four are frozen dinners. and they may have five or even ten line extensions in the same food category. The industry calls these "line extensions". You may see the brand name on the package and think it is the product described on the coupon.99 per individual package. because they often won't scan properly. but the coupon may be valid for only one of these four types of frozen dinners. The immediate inclination is to assume that all three of these variations were on sale. Bringing home the bacon gets a lot more expensive if you aren't on the alert. and the price of the NON-sale bacon was $5.99 for two (net cost $2.

If you find a sales flyer in your shopping cart.And given that the sale sign was in the largest portion of the meat cooler among the largest inventory of all the brands of bacon sold in that store. Factor this in when you are doing your 'net cost' calculations. "that item was on sale last week. QUANTITY REQUIREMENTS Some coupons require multiple purchases. And once you've left the store." I pull out the current sales flyer and show them the item. and you will still enjoy the full value of the coupon discount. so you will have technically purchased two. especially when you know you're right. you can't return food if there was no mistake on the store's part.00 on 2". Check the dates first. These type of coupons should put up red flags in your mind: a. and in fact they seem ticked that they were caught in a lie. i. I would tend to think that a lot of shoppers made a mistake in their selection. I've had sales clerks state with 100% certainty. Do I need two of this item. 43 . FLYERS LIE. and will I consume this quantity within the normal shelf life of the product? b. SALES CLERKS LIE. because you must buy two of them. So don't be afraid to stick to your guns. don't use it until you verify that it's the current flyer. The one time that this quantity issue goes away is when the item is on BOGO (Buy One / Get One FREE). but it's not on sale now. All you can do is to be more careful in the future. The cashier will scan two boxes of the product. they're not so certain. When an item rings up wrong. So a flyer you find in the cart on a Sunday could have expired the day before. "Save $1. and the coupon will be authorized. The face value of the coupon is automatically cut in HALF.e. So don't believe what you see. believe what you verify before you check out. there is nothing you can do about it. But you will only be charged for one item. All of a sudden. The clerks don't necessarily clean out the shopping carts every day.

the coupon may say "FREE half-gallon of milk".000 items in the typical grocery store. In most cases. the store's 44 .50) and the full retail price of their cereal ($4.35). and paying the regular price for your milk. The manufacturer may have an interest in promoting sales of their 32 oz. You have to understand that there are over 10. For example. and possibly a third coupon for the particular brand of cereal. bottle. The same rule applies to flavors. and in other cases it is valid for the one flavor only. They will scan the product and the coupon and let you know if the coupon is valid on that specific variation of the product. So you must spend $7. in the example above. The fine type may include the actual offer: Free milk when you buy a 16 oz. take the coupon and the flavor you want to the Customer Service window and ask. and is trying to sway people away from buying the 16 oz. The scanner will not accept the coupon if you try to use it with a 16 oz.00). bottle. be sure to read the fine print. You may find that there are three other flavor choices on the shelf. MATCHING REQUIREMENTS If a coupon offer looks too good to be true. Bear in mind that they are counting on you to pay the full retail price of their cookies ($3. You may actually come out ahead buying store brand cookies and cereal. If in doubt. It pays to do the math quickly in your head before using a matching requirement coupon. The coupon may say that the discount is available on the "barbeque" flavor of sauce. that is the rule. It may require a matching purchase. bottle. package of our cookies AND an 18 oz. In other words. because sometimes the coupon is valid for all four flavors. box of our cereal. One way to get increased value through 'matching requirement coupons' is to use ANOTHER coupon for the items required.85 to get a 'free' half-gallon of milk ($2. you may find that you have a different coupon for the required brand of cookies.CONTAINER SIZE / FLAVOR REQUIREMENTS This is another area where discretion is the better part of valor. So if the coupon says the discount is valid on the 32 oz. There is no hard-and-fast rule about this. bottle only.

you are now getting the peaches for FREE. So if you had a 50¢ coupon for the cookies and a 35¢ coupon for the cereal. (Be sure to check the product name and package size will not consider these to be competing coupons.00 for 3 boxes of cereal. Instead of 99¢. they're marked down to 50¢. Here's how it works: Let's say that your store is overstocked with a certain brand and size of canned peaches.00 off on any 3 boxes of Brand "A" cereal. use it. they offer them at 50% off. typically on a 45 . HYPER VALUES If you use only one strategy out of these coupon value-increasing ideas. You'll now be paying $4. It's important to note that many of the special deals available at a store are NOT advertised on the store shelf. In most cases.00. box of cereal – so you could end up paying MORE for a SMALLER box if you're not careful!) If you have a coupon for $1. so the coupon is entered differently from the others and the store’s computer will not reject it as an attempted double redemption. IF THERE'S NO SIGN. Since the store will automatically double the coupon at check-out time. A typical example of this is in cereals: All Brand "A" cereals on a list will be 3 for $5. If they are overstocked on a particular manufacturer's line of cereal – or perhaps the manufacturer's rep really needs to boost volume in your area and extends special pricing to the store – you may find that your store extends a 'Bonus Buy' across the entire product line.50 for the milk. plus the cashier will take off the $1. or approximately $1. the bonus may apply to the 28 oz. make sure you understand and use the strategy of 'Hyper Values'. BONUS BUYS. you could get $1. You never know until you try. IT MUST BE ON SALE. It just doesn't get any better than this. The only way you'll find them is to read the flyer that shows up in your morning newspaper. the cashier must manually enter the price of the free item into the cash register. box of cereal and NOT the 18 oz.33 per box. Another example is the 'Bonus Buys' that a store will offer. You happen to have a coupon for this brand offering 25¢ off a single can of fruit.70 in doubled value for these coupons.

Wednesday or Thursday. These same flyers are also available on a rack when you enter the store. What is really laughable is that literally NOBODY picks up a flyer when they enter the store. How many times have you seen somebody poring over a store flyer before they shop? Almost never. The reason? It's déclassé, and most people 'just don't have time for that'. Again, if your time is more valuable than your money, breeze on by the stack of flyers. The 2 minutes you save by NOT reading the flyer could end up costing you $10, $20 or more. (But hey, it's only money).

Big Idea Recap – Chapter 6
BIG IDEA 23: The greatest savings in the “grocery game” are achieved when you PLAN in advance to save money and are PREPARED to save money before you ever hit the aisles of your grocery store. BIG IDEA 24: The closer to the coupon expiration date, the greater the chances that an additional promotion on the product has already started. It means that you can save even more on the same product. BIG IDEA 25: The food manufacturers know that many people will NEVER clip a coupon. For every person who REDEEMS a coupon, 10 others will READ the coupons and associate those brands with value. In other words, coupons are used to build impressions in your mind that certain products offer excellent quality AND value – regardless of whether they actually do or not. Unless you actually clip and redeem the coupon, you won’t receive that extra value. BIG IDEA 26: Watch for 'tripling' events. This is when a store offers triple the face value of the coupon. Some stores limit this promotion to 50¢, but others will triple up to 99¢ – so many of your items will be totally free after the discount. BIG IDEA 27: Sometimes, the lower the coupon value, the greater the net discount. (WHAT? Did I read that right, or is it a typographical error?) No, you did not read it incorrectly. Smaller-value coupons can often lead to larger savings at the grocery store.

BIG IDEA 28: Take advantage of BOGO deals on non-perishable items, even when you don't have an immediate need for the item. Canned goods or cleaning supplies will keep just fine for a year or two on the shelf – and you won't have to pay full-price the next time you need the item. BIG IDEA 29: If your grocer allows you to buy only one item at half-price under a 'BOGO' deal AND you are using a coupon on the purchase, your net savings amount for the one item will be much higher that if you purchased two units of the same item. BIG IDEA 30: Clip every coupon that is for a product that some member of your household could use, even if you've never tried the brand before. You might find a super-special on the item, and you might end up liking it more than your current brand. BIG IDEA 31: Check, double-check, even triple-check to make sure that the brand variation shown on your coupon is the same as the item you put into your shopping cart. If it's wrong, you will probably end up paying full price for the item. BIG IDEA 32: Don't make assumptions when selecting items that are on sale. Pick up a sales flyer when you first enter the store, and compare the wording & photo of the sale item to the item in your shopping cart; if it doesn't match exactly, investigate until you are certain that you have the correct sale item. Don't trust signs or sales flyers until you verify that the dates and brand variations shown are correct. BIG IDEA 33: Be wary of "save on 2" or "save on 3" coupons. You have to buy so many of the item, it can negate the net value of the coupon. BIG IDEA 34: If a coupon shows a photo of a particular flavor, don't assume it's valid for all flavors unless this is specifically stated on the coupon. BIG IDEA 35: If the purchase of 2 or 3 different items is required to get a free item, you may be able to use additional coupons to lower the cost of the 2 or 3 items individually. BIG IDEA 36: You can get certain items for FREE is you have a coupon

for sale items and your store doubles the value of your coupon. Read the ads, match your coupons to the ads, and do the math. It's that easy. BIG IDEA 37: Sometimes buying the bigger box costs less than buying the smaller box. BIG IDEA 38: The store is not required to call your attention to the items that are on sale. To get the best values you have to take note of the items that are featured in the store’s sales flyer, find those items, verify that you have selected the EXACT size / brand / variation that is on sale, and purchase those items. The sale items won’t jump into your cart by themselves (but if you’re not careful, similar products that you THINK are on sale but are actually NOT on sale, will be the ones that end up in your cart...)


Chapter 7: Couponing Tactics: The Simplest Way to Organize Coupons
There are many different gadgets and custom wallets on the market to help you organize your coupons. Some cost only a few dollars, others cost $15, $20 or more. YOU DON'T NEED THEM! There's a method I use that is basically free, uncomplicated, and flexible. It's simple, it's easy to remember, and once you get the hang of it, it will make finding your coupons a breeze. Use 8 ordinary white envelopes. If you're super-cheap, you can even re-use bank envelopes, payroll envelopes, or business reply envelopes from your junk mail, (now that's REALLY cheap.) When the envelopes wear out, simply replace them. I keep mine bundled with a rubber band, and I store them in the glove box of my car. That way, I always know where they are. Also they're easy to stick in a pocket when I head into the store. The 8 envelopes are categories of products and stores. Write the category and item listings on each of your envelopes, as follows: BAKED GOODS Bread / Baking Supplies Refrigerated Dinner Rolls / Biscuits Cereal Cookies / Crackers Chips / Candy / Nuts / Popcorn / Snacks CANNED GOODS & BEVERAGES Vegetables Salad Soup Fruit Juices / Soda Coffee MEAT & FROZEN Lunchmeats


I'm 50 . $40. the system won't work. it's important that you dedicate yourself to saving money. $5. You should simply spend the extra $30. Drug Store Coupons HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR COUPONS First off.e.e.- Bacon / Sausage / Fresh Meats Any Frozen Product (except Ice Cream) CONDIMENTS & SIDE DISHES Pasta / Sauces Boxed Meal Mixes Rice / Grains Salad Dressing Peanut Butter / Jelly Spices / Salt / Sugar Cooking Oil DAIRY Milk / Cheese / Sour Cream Eggs Ice Cream / Toppings Pudding / Dips CLEANING SUPPLIES Household Cleaning Products Paper Products Dog / Cat Food PERSONAL PRODUCTS Personal Hygiene Items / Soaps / Deodorant Medicine RESTAURANT & STORE DISCOUNTS Store Discount Coupons (i. If you can't set aside 15 minutes per week to deal with your coupons. Yes. reading a magazine or talking on the phone.00 off any $30 Order) Restaurant / Retail Store Coupons Specific-Store Coupons. $50 or more and use your 15 minutes for more productive things – like watching TV. i.

go through the coupon sections and cut out any coupon you might consider using. it can actually be illegal. I find that it helps to set a specific time. I keep my coupon envelopes held together with a rubber band. NEVER try to use an out-of-date coupon. – CLIP ALL AT ONCE. Keep all coupons in one place until they are sorted. as follows: – CENTRAL LOCATION. but the truth of the matter is that saving money takes time and dedication. Then. Canned Goods. and simply put the Sunday coupon sections in there until I have time to go through them. – SORT ALL AT ONCE. place and routine for organizing and maintaining your coupons. I open the envelopes one by one and pull out any expired coupons. If it's something you wouldn't even consider using. and. go through your envelopes and remove all expired coupons. It's bad form. But if it's something that you'd consider trying if it was free. obviously don't clip that coupon. a hobby. It's like anything else – a diet. Dairy. Before going on a shopping trip (or at least once every few weeks). clip the coupon: it may end up free to you if you play your coupons right… – REVIEW EXPIRATION DATES. When you have the time. You have to have an almost religious zeal for following the system (or whatever system you prefer) and stick to it. it can be embarrassing. It's important that you do not reject coupons by brand name or familiarity at this point. in a specific order: Left row top to bottom: Meats. When it's time to do my sorting. or a sport – you have to do the same things like clockwork for an extended period of time before you will ever see any results. Cleaning Supplies I put the final two envelopes to the side. Side Dishes Right row top to bottom: Breads. if you do it knowingly. I use a small wicker basket. I lay the envelopes out on the table in 2 rows. because you really don’t tend to get as many coupons in the Personal Products and Restaurant 51 .being sarcastic.

. anything you can do to save time with your system will make it easier to follow. lunch meat / frozen foods always go to the top left. and simply stack my new coupons immediately below each of the envelopes. if you buy fresh meats and you put them in your cart first. Do it the same way each week. The benefit of following a routine is that you end up sorting without having to think about it. Of course. Add in your drive time home. so I tend to focus on those most of all. and will make it more relaxing and stress-free. Health experts will tell you to shop the perimeter of a grocery store first. and you could be keeping them out of refrigeration for a dangerous amount of time. i. follow each step to its completion in a quick and determined manner. bundle the envelopes back up with my rubber band.e. you'll have a lot of perishable items in your cart that will melt or lose freshness while you are browsing the inner aisles of the grocery store. Remember. Most of your coupons will be in the “big six”. but not always practical if you've got a family and have to stock up on a wide range of items every time you shop. this doesn't 52 . The most important thing is that you need an establish a fixed routine. I put the new coupons in the envelopes. etc. Of course. you'll load up on fresh fruits & vegetables. and do it all at once. Then. 60. it’s just mentally easier. you can develop your own routine. even 90 minutes. bread & cereal is always top right. and throw away my pile of expired coupons. when I'm done. For example. If you follow the expert's advice. SHOPPING TIME: organize your shopping trip to save time and keep food fresh. If you make a ROUTINE out of PLANNING to save money. baked goods. and avoid the processed foods on the inner aisles. meats. and easier to stick to. they could be out of refrigeration for 45. I leave plenty of room between the envelopes. If you do this. etc. It's a good thought. This will make short work out of organizing your coupons.& Store Discount categories. sticking to your PLAN will help you ROUTINELY save money.

When you have a match of coupon and sale item put the item in your cart. you'll get a good value by buying Brand A. you will find that 53 . you'll pay $2. i. MATCH. Plus. because Brand B is on sale for $2. Let's review why each of these steps is critical to your couponing success.49. Many people would simply look at the two coupons side by side: Brand A's coupon gives you $1. 3. meat and frozen foods for last. THE SYSTEM There are four simple steps when using store coupons: 1. the 50¢ Brand B coupon will be doubled in value at the checkout counter.apply to produce. making Brand B a better value choice right from the start. consider that you may have a coupon for the Brand B item. dairy products. SCAN.99. 2. Let's say that Brand A's normal price is $3.00 off. so it's EQUAL in value to Brand A's $1. 4. so the Brand A coupon offers you better savings. Immediately put the coupon in your designated coupon pocket or other storage place. so when you buy this brand you'll pay less without using a coupon.99. right? WRONG! In this case.00 off coupon. and that's the place to start shopping first. $1. your net cost of buying it will be $1. Let's say the Brand B coupon is for 50¢ off. When you have an appealing coupon. It takes a little discipline.49.00 off on an item we'll call 'Brand A'. SCAN all products in the category to see what's on sale today. POCKET.49 – fully ONE HALF THE NET COST OF THE BRAND A ITEM!!! Over time.e. And chances are. As an even better value proposition. Save the bread. and Brand B's coupon gives you 50¢ off. you may be tempted to search out that exact item and buy it. REVIEW all coupons that you have for the category to see if you have coupons for the items that are on sale. but your family will eat healthier if you focus your shopping in this section. But 'Brand B' may be on sale for $2. With your dollar off. and they'll arrive home in much better condition. But you may not be enjoying the BEST value. There is literally nothing you can buy in the store that is better for your family's health than fresh fruit and vegetables.

they have a great food products section.SCANNING the entire product category before making a selection will be your #1 key to saving. But here's a little secret (one I know from having worked at a pickle factory during summer break at college). See if your family can correctly identify which is the high-priced brand and which is the value brand. the results will be laughable: the value brand will be preferred in many cases. do you really think your family will not eat the generic peas? Unless they see the cans. They gear up to keep their factories running 24/7. try and run a taste-test contest with your family. Most people are reactive shoppers. What did we do when we reached our quota of the name brand product for the week? Well… we switched out the paper on the labeling machine. The plant I worked at manufactured one of the top-selling brands of pickles in the world. while a generic can of peas will look lackluster. You'll find that in most stores. I can assure you. the higher-priced items will be at eye level. and used the generic-brand labels. not all generics offer the same quality as the top-shelf brands. At my local dollar store. because that is the only way they can get maximum efficiency and return on investment on their plants. I prefer the 'baby' peas. So when their factory reaches their quota of producing the name-brand product. But when they're cooked and on your table. They grab the first thing they see that looks appealing. Yes. Another quick test is to compare the bottle design. You may notice that the higher-priced brands look better. because these manufacturers put a lot of effort into their packaging. Cook both items. which go for about three times the cost of generic. and serve them up in identical dishes. I know. and the highest-price space is right at eye level. A can of toppriced peas will look delicious and inviting. REVIEW. Manufacturers pay a 'slot fee' to buy shelf space. one of the high-priced brand and one of the low-priced store brand. Yes. They change the labels! If you doubt this. they typically won't know the difference. And frankly. Buy two cans of an identical item. They carry lots of 54 . they don't shut down the production line. folks – it's a little-told secret of the food processing industry.

for example. but in some cases it is.. You have to physically present ALL of your coupons at the checkout counter 55 . Now that you've chosen the best possible combination. This may seem like a really dumb step. most efficient food manufacturing plants produce and package the off-brand products. I mean that you should give a final check of the coupon details and the product details BEFORE you put the item into your cart. By this. but it's actually very important. kitchen select soup. One top brand sells regular soup. and you’ll enjoy a real deal. etc. Last but not the least. size. you may get the EXACT SAME QUALITY with a generic or storebrand product. home-style soup. Some brands have four or five categories that are completely different. some of them will be downright awful. The coupons they issue are typically good for just one of their soup categories. Most of the biggest. MATCH. Take soup. It may not always be the same quality as the leading brands. and single-serving microwavable soup for one. In fact. and the coupon may only be good for one category of item. Their off-brand version of Worcestershire sauce is in a bottle that is shaped remarkably like the #1 brand in the world. you could find that your coupon is rejected at the checkout counter – the ultimate coupon-cutter's nightmare. POCKET. chunky soup. it would simply be too costly for them to change recipes or ingredients to produce the 'off brands'. POCKET the coupon. flavor. as well as the expiration date. you might find that they’re the identical product made by the leading name-brand manufacturer. So if you're astute and willing to do a little testing. I'm not saying that every item you pick up in a dollar store is going to be identical to the leading brand. you need to MATCH your coupon to the item before you commit to the buy. it tastes just like the leading brand. When you taste the sauce.condiments and sauces. But if you try them. Check the brand name. You've seen above why it's important to SCAN all of the shelves for the best item and REVIEW all of your coupon and sale combination. If you forget to MATCH the specifics of the coupon offer to the EXACT LABEL on the soup can.

especially if you have ever gotten in your car and realized that you forgot to present your coupons at the checkout counter. So it's important to get in the habit of POCKETING all of the coupons you plan to use. So the coupons in your pocket that would have been worth $20 or $30 in actual cash savings will now be worth diddly-squat. but now it's gone. Just make sure you have a true system. on every shopping trip. they won't be redeemed. BIG IDEA 40: If you can't FIND the coupons you need. If you do things the same way each week. I use my left pocket. Again. Here's another reason why you have to be diligent in PHYSICALLY TRANSFERRING THE COUPON to your "POCKET" location for redemption. and putting them all in one safe secure place. Create your own system or use mine. You could have taken the family to the movies with that money. Again. Every minute you put into organizing your coupons will 56 . you can't REDEEM them.when you are buying your groceries. You can't go back! Once your shopping transaction is completed. does this sound too elementary and ridiculous to you? It won't. I crush it up and put it in my right pocket. the store won't let you go back and turn your coupons in. if I find that I have an expired coupon. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 7 BIG IDEA 39: The simpler the system. the easier it is to use – and the easier it is to use. but that's just a personal preference. and follow it like clockwork. that's just the way I do it – and it may not be the best choice for you. And it WILL add up over time. During the course of my shopping trip. you will systematically save money. Have you ever gotten home with your shopping bags and realized that there was an on-pack coupon that you forgot to use? Nothing is more galling than seeing a 50¢ "REDEEM ME NOW" coupon stuck to a box that you have already bought. If they don't make it into the hands of the checkout clerk. the more likely you are to stick with it over time. to be thrown away at the first trash can I encounter.

calculate the FINAL COST of the item in your head after factoring in the doubled coupon value. it's a sure way to remember to present them to the cashier before you pay. you'll become more alert to spotting bargains and avoiding impulse buys. buying more EXPENSIVE foods could actually SAVE you money. Follow that road map every time you do your big weekly shopping paid back to you in greater savings at the cash register. don't let the 'bargain' price of an item make it your #1 choice. your coupons aren't worth the paper they're printed on… 57 . BIG IDEA 43: if you make a ROUTINE out of PLANNING to save money. similarly. Remember. BIG IDEA 42: Keep an open mind as to which products you would consider trying. BIG IDEA 47: Don't assume that a coupon is good for all sizes / flavors / variations of a particular brand item – even if it seems to be an obvious match. BIG IDEA 44: Learn the layout of your grocery store(s). you'll never maximize your full potential of reducing your food budget. BIG IDEA 45: Don't let the high price of an item scare you off buying it. and you'll reduce your in-store time significantly. Reading the fine print can save you a bundle at the checkout counter. In other words. once you leave the store. Plan out a mental "road map" of how you will routinely shop in that store.. BIG IDEA 48: Make it a routine to keep your coupons in the EXACT SAME PLACE every time you go shopping. and you can actually SAVE MONEY by buying the EXPENSIVE brand! BIG IDEA 46: Most of the biggest.. and you'll get better at them day after day. If you only consider buying familiar products or ones you've tried and used before. you may get the EXACT SAME QUALITY with a generic or store-brand product. most efficient food manufacturing plants produce and package the off-brand products. Do things the same way every time. BIG IDEA 41: Consistency is the key to effectiveness in any system. If you are astute and willing to do a little testing. sticking to your PLAN will help you ROUTINELY save money.

58 .

) here is one sure way to settle the issue once and for all. Wake up and smell the mocha java. and think they aren't worth the paper they're printed on.Chapter 8: The Currency vs. and insert the 50¢ coupon into the shredder. and for shock value. (Feels good. Does shredding the dollar bill bother you more than shredding the coupon? Why? At most grocery stores. either because you just can't be bothered to clip coupons. people! 59 .00 value against the total purchase price of your groceries. chances are there is one somewhere in your office. If you are concerned that you may just be this type of person. Step 2. or you simply find the whole process distasteful. Look in your Sunday newspaper coupon section. The only difference is that they were issued by different entities: one by the U. *NOTE: Destruction of U. the 50¢ coupon would have been doubled in value at the time of redemption. Step 4.. so it is IDENTICAL IN VALUE to the dollar bill. currency is illegal. Step 5. Now. Keep this one fact in mind: the grocery store cash register doesn't care which is which: it sees both items as having a $1. You may think you're not a candidate to save money. try taking the 'Currency vs. that’s REAL money we’re talking about.S. Okay. doesn’t it?) Take a dollar bill out of your wallet or purse.. I don’t waste REAL money. too.!) Step 3. Locate a paper shredder. Turn the shredder on. and one by a food manufacturer. Do not actually implement this test. and find a 50¢ coupon for a product that your family uses on a regular basis.* (Hey wait. Step 1. Coupon Litmus Test'. Mint. It's true: some people have complete and total disdain for grocery coupons. it is presented here for comparison purposes only.Coupon Litmus Test If you are still questioning whether or not you are a "coupon person" (or could ever become one. insert the dollar bill into the shredder.S.

00 item for 29¢ and you have to pay $1. and to be perfectly honest with you. It only takes an extra 15 minutes or so when you're adding new coupons. BIG IDEA 50: Unless you're an industry insider or a psychic. If this is your situation. especially when you're throwing away a stack of 50 or 75 coupons that you painstakingly clipped a few months earlier. When you think you're getting a $3. or you can revel in the ones that you caught.59 for it. Then. just take an extra second to check the expiration date before you transfer the coupon to your left pocket.CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS: purging your expired coupons. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE. The coupon you don't clip because you "can't afford that brand" could have made that item cheaper than the store brand on your next shopping trip. The coupon that you didn't clip might be the one that you wished you had later on… Big Idea Recap – Chapter 8 BIG IDEA 49: Coupons work just like currency at the cash register. And remember: there is no way for you to know which items will be on special at your grocery store in three or four weeks. the cashier informs you that the coupon you have presented is expired. Some people say. store sells single item for half the price. but sometimes you just don't have those extra 15 minutes. you don't know what's going to be on sale at your store in three or four weeks. It's all just part of the process. you're still getting a great deal – but it's a huge let-down because you got tripped up by the fundamentals. The couponer's nightmare is thinking you've just scored the ultimate trifecta: BOGO deal. "don't you feel like you've wasted a lot of time when you throw away expired coupons?" There is a bit of truth in this. coupon in hand. I only purge my coupons about once every month or so. 60 . If you're throwing away the coupons from your Sunday paper. I sometimes get in a hurry. But think like a fisherman: you can whine about the ones that got away. you're throwing away cash. I've caught myself about to make a mistake like this many times.

Here's how these clubs work: 1. You sign up for the program at the Customer Service counter. at every store you shop in – even if you only shop there once or twice per year. the only way to get the lowest prices in the grocery store is to join the store's frequent shopper club program. and typically they give you a plastic sheet with a punch-out membership card and a couple of punch out key fobs. 4. As any astute shopper knows. Often. and the computer will instantly recognize you as a club member. a store makes more money by selling this information than they do on the products you have purchased! Why is your information so valuable? The truth is individual family 61 . minimally tells you) is that their system is collecting information on your family's purchasing habits and product preferences. All of these items feature a barcode. They will typically show two prices: A. When you go to check out. GET ANALYZED. SCAN. Cards & Counterintelligence FREQUENT SHOPPER CARDS: Value. with a price. You will receive the club member discount price on the featured items. you present your card or your key fob to the cashier. You join the club. SHOP. 3. and B. the club member's price. What the store DOESN'T tell you (or at best.Chapter 9: Clubs. The cashier will scan the barcode on the card or key fob. the ONLY way you can get the 'sale' prices on the item is to be a member of their shopping club. JOIN. the regular price. and the barcode identifies you to the store's computer every time you shop there. 2. You must join every club. In most stores. Why? Because you will save money immediately and instantly every time you shop. Look for the special discount signs on products throughout the store. They sell this information to data compilers and marketing firms.

000.000 and $80. Here's something else that few shoppers know: consumer product manufacturers pay stores a 'slot fee' for the space on their shelves. and the discount store brands get the bottom shelves. let's say that your household income is between $75. This translates into huge sales and huge revenues for the manufacturers. they will realize that they DO NOT have to lower the price of this product below this point to maintain market share. They are committed to influencing you to shop this way. so they make the most money off of you.19. because they know that most consumers are lazy and will buy the first product that they see in the category they are shopping for. They will have learned that their target audience – affluent young families with children – are perfectly happy to buy two units at a total savings of 40¢ – and there is no need to offer a lower price point or a 'Buy one / get one free' package deal. If shoppers are lazy and prove that they 62 . he's hiding in the aisles of your grocery store. Of course. But as a member of a specific demographic group. Let's say for example that the store features a national brand of cookies at a special rate. and the grocery industry wants you to buy the smallest packages of the most expensive brands at the highest prices. your age is 35 to 40 and you have 3 children under the age of 10. i. The market will have spoken loud and clear and saved the manufacturer a ton of money in promoting that specific product. That is why a national brand gets the middle shelves that are at eye level. The national brands pay the highest shelf fees. when the normal price of a single item is $2.e. The buying patterns of shoppers at your local grocery store often dictate the prices you will pay. For example. they will monitor the sales of this item by the total number of items sold.99'. BUT – they will also be monitoring the demographics of the people purchasing them. If they find that families with your demographic indicators participate in this pricing offer 45% more than families with lower incomes. your data can help identify trends and validate information that is VERY profitable to the grocery product industry. "Big Brother" is alive and well. You are a powerhouse consumer. '2 for $3.information is not extremely valuable by itself.

(ever notice that they ALWAYS keep the cheese in the back of the store…?) The truth of the matter is that shoppers' clubs are the ultimate tool used by the food industry to make you a walking. street address. marital status. 3. Most of this information is available from national consumer databases anyway. 2. you have to fill out a registration form. talking participant in the world's largest focus group. Welcome to the Maze. As a club member. they are in essence telling the store manager. just about every purchase you make is being monitored. The real goal behind these clubs is something… well…. If you've ever thought that the aisles in your grocery store can seem like a rat maze in a testing laboratory. Every item in the store carries a product code. PRODUCT CODE. etc. recorded and analyzed for future use by marketing firms. "PLEASE RAISE OUR PRICES!" And guess what? The manager will gladly comply… This is all a long way of saying that discount clubs will save you money every time you shop. you can't keep any secrets from the grocery store's computer. too. although they will. Now. That little store tag you keep on your key chain has a barcode. Every different size / shape / flavor has a unique code that is captured when the check-out clerk scans the package. CLUB MEMBER CODE. in infinite detail. before you get shocked or scared or decide to quit the shopper's club (a truly BAD idea). REGISTRATION. You need to join them. The computer knows what every item is. To get your discount card or key tag that entitles you to discounts at the store. you can see it below the barcode on the package. They may ask you for some demographic information such as your age. Guess what product that code 63 . You tell them your name. you're not too far off the mark.will pay any cost for a particular item. etc. children's age. But the main purpose of these clubs is not to save you money. slightly more sinister. let's look at how this happens: 1.

The computer knows who you are. NO. But wait a minute – isn't it true that the affluent neighborhoods sell more of everything at a higher price. but prefer the name brand variety. And these guys know all about the low-hanging fruit.4 bottles of Italian salad dressing per month. They can save a year or more of expensive research time. Why would they do this to you. surely they're keeping it private – aren't they??? Well. their loyal customer? This information is worth BIG BUCKS to people in the industry.1 bottles per month. in a word. huh? And that's just the tip of the iceberg lettuce…. It knows that you got crazy last November and tried the balsamic vinaigrette but it probably wasn't a hit because you didn't buy it again. They've picked it. But if you view the nation as a giant pyramid based on affluence. shipped it. and they can reap this data to sell more of THEIR product using the data. the top 1/10th of that 64 . and sold it for years. where you live. So if manufacturer "A" has a wealth of information on the salad dressing preferences in a particular metropolitan area. But it doesn't know that you like to sneak out and get a pint of premium ice cream on a Saturday night. getting you to buy more stuff at a higher price and consume it faster. SHARED DATA. It knows that you have tried the store brand dressing once. this falls under the category of 'picking the lowest-hanging fruit first'. no. no… Of course it DOES know that your household consumes 1.4 bottle level dropped to 0.represents? It's YOU. If your grocery store chain knows all of these intimate details about your household. does it? No. compared to your neighbor across the street whose family consumes 2. people whose job is to SELL YOU MORE STUFF! Information is money and time is money. Scary stuff. In fact. 4. manufacturer "B" may 'cut to the chase' quicker by purchasing this information. packaged it. The information saves them time. so they can get to the ultimate solution faster. and what you buy. they'll sell it to just about anyone who wants it. The ultimate solution being. And it knows that you tried a competing grocery chain in August because the 1. so the manufacturers just focus on THOSE markets? Why would they mess with the many lower or middle-income neighborhoods in the nation? Actually.6 that month.

After all. The good part of this whole process is that you are proving your worth to the food industry with every purchase you make. GOOD DATA = GOOD VALUES. because she's buying 4. So Betty redeems the coupon and brings the cereal home.7 boxes per month – and not the smaller boxes. they can use the same technique to influence the 15. EVERY consumer in America is of interest to the food manufacturers. So the kids are happy. Betty's happy because she saved a lot of cash. Betty doesn't make a huge income. Based on sheer numbers. but she's doing alright. the majority of the profit for these food manufacturers is found in the secondary markets and lower. To see how this works. 5. but the information on your buying habits is just as important – and possibly even MORE important – than the buying habits of rich people on Rodeo Drive.7 boxes for the past 3 years – has dwindled to…. You're part of a larger consumer group. and lo and behold – the kids could care less whether they're eating Fruit Goop or Berry Blop. SIMPLY PUT: you may live in Podunk.3 million other shoppers like Betty who live in similar-size communities and make similar levels of income. and the food manufacturer is happy because he's successfully migrated Betty away from Fruit Goop. but the big family-size boxes. and they'd sure like Betty to migrate over to their brands. But the story doesn't end there… The manufacturers of Fruit Goop cereal notice that Betty's volume – a steady 4.) These values can help Betty really save some cash. The bottom 90% of the pyramid is the lower to middle-income neighborhoods. not just the wealthiest households.pyramid is the affluent markets. if only she would try them. So Betty starts getting some really interesting coupons in the mail or through the internet (see the online coupon section at the end of this book. The manufacturers of "Berry Blop" cereal are envious. ZERO 65 . let's look at a fictitious customer "Betty" who lives in a smaller rural city. Her kids seem to like "Fruit Goop" cereal. if they can figure out how to get her to switch brands and become a loyal customer of theirs.

BOXES! Flashing red lights and alarms are going off in the factory. "Something must be done," shouts the big boss with the cigar in his mouth. And so the legions of marketers snap into action and start blitzing Betty with huge discounts on Fruit Goop cereal. So now she can redeem these coupons on Fruit Goop and save even more money. The kids, meanwhile, are mass-consuming whatever she pours into their bowls. They're oblivious. Betty is ecstatic; her monthly food bills are going down. But wait, there's more… The manufacturer of Berry Blop notices that he's losing out again. He redoubles his effort – issuing even more coupons for the brand that he knows Betty's brood prefers two to one over Fruit Goop. So Betty uses those coupons on her next shopping trip. Repeat this cycle over and over, until the Betty clan outgrows their preference for excessivelysugared products, and wakes up to real nutrition. Then, the manufacturers start in on her new neighbors who have younger kids… While cynical and exaggerated, the example of "Betty" above is the basic process of couponing in America today. And while the delivery vehicles are not always so targeted, the industry is headed more and more in this direction. Take note of the coupons that are printed at the cash register: these are the principal ammunition in the household preference wars. Some coupons are printed and delivered directly to the household, but these are on a more infrequent basis due to the high cost. The biggest volume of activity in these wars takes place on a market-by-market level. The industry looks at overall performance by select demographic groups, and responds to the market as a whole by varying the coupon amounts and promotional activity by individual market. This is far more prevalent than individual household couponing. But the industry is getting more household-centric as technology gets more advanced. And certain changes in our technology-savvy households are closer than you think… 6. GUESS WHO'S COMING TO (TV) DINNER? (Apologies to Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier and Katharine Hepburn). Did you know that over-the-air TV broadcast is ending in 2009? More and more households are buying High Definition TV sets (HDTV), and soon everyone will have a digital receiver (or 2, 3, 4 or more) in their household. The color and clarity will be fantastic. The number and


diversity of the channels will be spectacular. And the commercials? Well, they'll be aimed directly between your eyes, or more specifically – your wallet. Let's say your name is Suzy Shopper and your neighbor across the street is Charlie Consumer, and you're both watching the latest chapter of "Desperate Cowgirls", the #1 network show far and wide. When it goes to commercial, you – Suzy Shopper – are viewing a commercial for the latest gas-guzzling vehicle to sputter out of Detroit. That's because you're driving a seven year old import, and your index potential for a new car purchase in the next six months is off the charts. Your neighbor Charlie, meanwhile, is viewing a commercial for golf clubs, because he plays golf six times a month. Hey – wait a minute – how did they know he's a golfer and I'm driving an old car??? And how the heck did they change those commercials out between our two households…??? This is simple stuff with the new technology in place today. And as far as knowing your lifestyle / hobbies / major purchases and brand preference? Heck, they even know what brand toothpaste you use… So how does this relate to you, Suzy Shopper and Charlie Consumer, each snug in your little condos in front of your blazing hot widescreen Plasma HDTVs? The marketers are coming for you both – individually and personally – and they're out for nothing less than total mind control. Okay, that sounded a little out there even for me… but the truth is that your buying habits are being monitored and addressed on increasingly-specific levels. The war for your wallet is gearing up for high speed, high-tech battle. And in the grand scheme of things, you are powerless to stop it. Sure, you can TiVo your way out of the commercials. But guess what? Soon enough, you won't WANT to. And here's why: Here you are, Suzy Shopper, watching the Cowgirls prance across your screen. Before you can grab the remote, a commercial for the new "MegaSmog V8 convertible" comes across your screen, and the graphic says, "Suzy – we'll pay you $100 to test drive this car today!" And you're thinking, "WOW – I could really use that $100 to buy 5 gallons


of gas for my current car, but I'm never going to buy a new car; I'll just go down there and get my free cash!" So you go down to the dealership, and you get your $100. The dealer is happy, too, because he knows that you are an interested shopper. He will continue to target you until you finally convert and buy the new car. It's a numbers game, so he's just happy to move you up the priority ladder among prospects. Meanwhile, your neighbor Charlie was previously watching Desperate Cowgirls, but he got bored and switched over to the Knitting Network. Guess what? The commercials followed him over there. In the future (i.e. now, or thereabouts), advertisers will buy time by households, segmented by very precise demographic indicators, rather than by blocks of time on a network. So whatever channel you select, you'll get a certain amount of household-specific offers. So Charlie is watching "Knit One / Purl, Too!" – on the knitting Network, his favorite hobby channel, and up comes a commercial for the latest set of golf clubs from Wham-Co. Charlie is perfectly happy with his old set of clubs, but the ad says, "Hey Charlie – come to Gargantuan Golf World this weekend, and we'll give you a dozen balls free – just for testing our new clubs.” Charlie was headed there to pick up some new balls anyway, so he says "what the heck" and heads off to the store. Soon thereafter, he's on the driving range blasting away with his new set of Wham-Co clubs, which, as he discovered at the store, he simply could not live without… THE MORAL OF THE STORY: It's really quite simple: whether you are a prospect for a new car, a set of golf clubs, or a year's supply of Fruit Goop cereal, your shopping selections are VERY IMPORTANT to manufacturers today. If you learn how to play their game and work their system, you can enjoy some real values and real savings. You may scoff at grocery coupons today. But coupons are coming your way, even if you never open the Sunday newspaper or read your mail: they will simply be delivered electronically. And you will WANT to view them and redeem them.


BIG IDEA 52: "Big Brother" is alive and well. "PLEASE RAISE OUR PRICES!" And guess what? The manager will gladly comply… BIG IDEA 54: Get a frequent shopper cart at every grocery store you visit. You're really not helping any cause or righting any wrongs by NOT participating in the program. be aware that every purchase you make – or don’t make – is being monitored. so there are immediate benefits to you that can help your family's budget. and they will continue to do it in the future. So I don't have any problem in recommending shopping club membership to everyone. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 9 BIG IDEA 51: If you "don't have time" to sign up for the grocery store shopper's club. so make an informed decision for you and your family that matches your personal preferences and comfort levels. There is really no down side to this or personal repercussions. But in my book. even if you only shop there once or twice a year. The decision to join the club or not join the club is a personal one. he's hiding in the aisles of your grocery store. and the truth is that this process will go on very well without you. you DO end up saving money when you use the club card. every day. Affix a "sucker" label to your forehead and tell people proudly that you pay full price. getting the most for your shopping dollar is first and foremost. for every item in the store. Is this whole process a bad thing or a good thing? Well. thank you. If shoppers are lazy and prove that they will pay any cost for a particular item. they are in essence telling the store manager. Much of this data originates from the lowly-little 'frequent shopper club' tag sitting on your key chain.The firms that purchase your family's shopping habits and brand preferences from your local grocery store are doing it now. 69 . the bargains are well worth it. BIG IDEA 53: The buying patterns of shoppers at your local grocery store often dictate the prices you will pay. If you are a member of a frequent-shopper club. but you need to know that you’re part of one of the world’s largest focus groups of all time. you "don't have time" to save money. Are there long-term disadvantages? That is a debatable subject.

get a card at the grocery store in that area. BIG IDEA 57: The more coupons you redeem. even if you never open the Sunday newspaper or read your mail: they will simply be delivered electronically. you can enjoy increasing amounts of free stuff. you'll get the card immediately.BIG IDEA 55: Concerned about privacy? Register using your work address. But coupons are coming your way. Box. HDTV sets. BIG IDEA 59: You may scoff at grocery coupons today. discounts and special values that other people won't enjoy. because you’ll get lots of free stuff and better deals on virtually everything you buy – even cars. The sooner you start the process. You'll get more offers and better values over time. 70 . not just the wealthiest households. and you could save $10 or $20 just on your one visit. The shopping actions of a lower-income household are monitored just as closely as those of the most affluent households. BIG IDEA 58: Today's brand marketers know a LOT about you already. cell phones and other high-ticket items. you'll have to pay with cash because they can get your address off your check or your credit/ debit card. the sooner you'll get into the higher discount levels. And you will WANT to view them and redeem them. even if you don't plan to return anytime soon. the more interest you will attract from food marketers. BIG IDEA 60: Sign up for frequent shopper clubs at every grocery store you visit.O. If you learn how to play their game. or a P. If you're traveling on vacation and need groceries. You'll still get the card and enjoy the discounts. BIG IDEA 56: EVERY consumer in America is of interest to the food manufacturers. Of course. but it will be harder for the store to link this to your home address.

What is a rebate club? Simply put. you rarely – if ever – venture over to the 'brand X' pharmacy. but people do tend to have their #1 favorite in terms of where they buy their shampoo. even if you don't normally shop there. etc. These are typically found at the larger drug store chains. (Does anyone use toupee wax anymore? There's a question for the ages…) So if you're like most people. people are definitely creatures of habit. Seniors spend more per capita on prescriptions than any other demographic group. The rebate club offers can allow you to get as much as $50 in FREE merchandise each month. it's the seniors. My record on free items is $62 in one month. and every item was something that somebody in my family could use. so most of the big chains offer rebate clubs. toupee wax.800 a year. If you visit 3 stores a month. you could literally get $150 in FREE stuff each month – up to $1. hard-working youth of America. because some people get their prescriptions at the food store. The target for these clubs is not the income-earning. The store that you use to get your prescriptions filled is generally the store that you get your drug store supplies from. Here's a money-saving tip: wander over there at least once a month. which issue a monthly flyer of offers. this one technique alone could save you over $1.000 a year on drug store supplies! It's no secret that the pharmacy chains are in big competition with each other. When it comes to pharmacies. The store doesn't care about giving $20 or $30 in rebate money to a senior. it is an ongoing store promotion that lets you purchase items and get some or all of the purchase price back in the form of a cash rebate. aka “Your Check’s in the Mail” Why you should join every one you can. Even if you're not super-diligent or the offers aren't that lucrative every month of the year.Chapter 10: The Power of Rebate Clubs. hair coloring. Visit all the major drug store chain stores in your area at least once a month. It's not always true. when they're 71 . just to pick up their rebate club flyer.

but they don't want people buying it just because of that. because they don't want low-dollar customers to take advantage of the rebates. but you have to purchase it between the 8th and 16th of the month. because some manufacturers will offer a $3. a $7. the flyer is on a rack as you enter the store. but in some tourist destinations you have to ask the cashier for a copy of the rebate book. 2. You may be a struggling young family with a little cash in the bank but you are entitled to get the rebates just like anyone else. 72 4.00 rebate on a $2. (HINT: be a 'freebie' nut. Others will be $1. They're trying to encourage repeat visits.99 rebate for buying it. REVIEW THE OFFERS. but you must buy it between the first and 7th of the month. One major drug store chain that will go unnamed has started to stagger their rebate offers throughout the month. I have found that some national chains offer the rebate club in all markets. It's critical that you check the valid dates of the offer. but it's really more trouble than it's worth. the first free item may earn you a 100% rebate. it's really free. The truth is that the stores cannot legally exclude any individual from getting the rebates.) 3. i. Be sure to process your . but they only tell you this in the fine print. This is a subtle way by which they try to discourage the 'freebie' nuts that will take anything for free – even if they don't want or need it. the next item may also give you a 100% rebate. $2.00 off the purchase price of the item.00. GET THE REBATE BOOK OR FLYER. Apparently.e. In other words. they don't want tourists with disposable cash to get a break on anything – especially if they're ready to pay full price without question.99 item. You will typically find items that are offered with a 100% rebate.00 or $3. Here's how rebate club programs typically work: 1. In most drug stores. MAIL IN THE REBATE REQUEST.going to buy $200 or $300 in prescriptions each month. CHECK THE OFFER DATES. unless you are super-diligent and/or a frequent visitor to that store anyway. Or it could be that they only want to offer the book to seniors. You have to check these carefully.99 bottle of sun tan lotion with a $7.

6. 7. For most clubs. so they’ll use any and all excuses not to issue the rebate check. Read the fine print. your mail-in request MUST be postmarked by February 5th. if you are responding to a January Rebate Club offer. Think you can ‘slide’? Don’t count on it. SIDE NOTE: if you are allowed to use your company postage meter. because some of these stores will deny you the rebate if you don't do everything they say. If you want to be sure you get every extra dollar that's coming to you. KEEP A PHOTO COPY. The retailers call this "breakage". How does a cash register malfunction and not print the date? It’s beyond me. READ THE REQUIREMENTS. or write the product’s barcode number down on your rebate form. and they are counting on you to procrastinate. That gives you positive proof that you mailed it 73 . you can photocopy your outer envelope with the postmark date. What you DON'T want to do is say.rebate request and mail it off IMMEDIATELY when you get home. they lose their rebate – and that is what the drug store chains are counting on. It's a good practice to photocopy everything and keep in a file. don't procrastinate: set a filing procedure that works for you and stick to it. The sad truth is that a very high percentage of people who intend to mail in their rebate requests never quite get around to it. 5. Some rebates require that you cut out the barcode off the product. The stores really don’t want to give you the rebate. "I'll do it later" – because out of sight is out of mind. After a few months. if you haven't gotten your rebate. Here's a rule that works for me: I don't allow myself to put the products away until I have completed the rebate forms AND sealed the envelope. Another critical item is the postmark date on your mail-in rebate request. which is the next critical point. Some of the less-scrupulous clubs or their 3rd party vendors will try to get around sending you a rebate check. exactly the way they say it. I was once denied a $50 rebate check because the store’s cash register didn’t date the receipt. but you can bet that I called them out on it and eventually got my rebate. or they will refuse it. you'll have proof of mailing it in. CHECK THE POSTMARK DATE REQUIREMENTS. How did I do it? I had back-up ammunition. and most people will surely forget to do the paperwork – thus.

which saves the rebate company a lot of cash. 9. but if you're denied a $50 or greater rebate like I was. but that's not my concern: I just want what's coming to me. use it first when making purchases at the store. The store managers have always made good on the rebate offers. so you're actually getting more free stuff without spending any actual cash… 10. It may seem trivial. They're counting on a large number of respondents simply forgetting about it. It's cheaper for them than issuing checks. Plus. And I wouldn't be shocked if the third party processing companies turn in 100% of the rebate requests to the retailer.within the proper timeframe. If your store puts your rebate amount on a gift card. and a welltimed call to a 1-800-number can often get you quick service on your rebate request. Some stores use a magnetic stripe gift card to provide rebate funds. CASH SECOND. USE YOUR GIFT CARD'S STORED VALUE FIRST. So always use the credit before using real cash. Plus. I've gone to the store manager and pointed out that I did everything I was asked to. and you can't turn it in for cash. Proving this would be difficult. 8. Using my photocopies. one major chain offers you a 10% 'bump' in your rebate total if you'll allow them to post the rebate amount to your rechargeable gift card. BUG 'EM IF THEY'RE LATE. 74 The downside of rebate clubs is that your cash is tied up for 30 to 60 . it's a huge kick to buy the next month's freebies with a gift card. Some companies intentionally do not mail rebate checks unless the consumer calls to complain. it's good money management. but only mail out checks to a small portion of the consumers. but on more than one occasion I have had a rebate processing company deny my rebate claiming that I violated rule X. You don't earn interest by keeping the value on the card. it becomes your word against theirs – and having a back-up plan can help settle the dispute in your favor. Don't be afraid to call the rebate company if they're late mailing you a check. USE THE STORE'S GIFT CARD PLAN. and simply turned my photocopies in to their regional managers. then pay any remaining balance with cash. rather than have them issue you a check. This may seem like a lot of work. It's a handy way to get a little extra cash back.

many of which are only available from a pharmacy and not a dollar store. "Save even more with manufacturer coupons found in today's paper. then. deposit it and IMMEDIATELY write a check in the exact amount to your credit card company. In most grocery stores. The Most Amazing. (No big deal here. Alarms will go off. Since you need them and are going to buy them anyway – regardless of the cost – it's well worth your time to apply for and get all the rebates that are available.00 store coupon issued by the retailer. that may be a little bit exaggerated.00 off coupon on one brand of shampoo. The headline read. if you do it right. however: • No Doubling. Well-Hidden Drug Store Shopping Secret." In checking the other coupons. because stores in my area only double up to 50¢ – one up to 99¢ – and these coupons were all above that value. when the rebate check arrives.00 off. presenting a second coupon for a single item will cause the cash register to error out. good on a select manufacturer's brand of soaps and shampoos: buy any 3 and get $3. You only have to do this once. If you are really cash-strapped. You can use the rebate amount to purchase the next month's rebate items. Most drug stores do NOT double coupons like the grocery stores do. and you'll be pinned to the floor with an AK47 pointed at your forehead. So I could easily get a total of $8. and the stores don't like it and won't accept it.) 75 . but you get the point: double-coupon presentment is fraud. the secret 'coupon police' in dark suits with sunglasses will come rushing in. Another secret about shopping at the big-box drug stores that you may never have heard of is the availability of multiple coupon redemption. Rebate clubs give you money back on everyday items that you're probably buying already. I would suggest putting the purchases on a credit card. and $1.00 off coupons on several others. I found a $2.00 off on three brand-name products! There are several things you should be aware of. Then. Why is it. Well. Sorry – there is no way around this one. that some drug stores not only accept it but ENCOURAGE it? It's true! A recent flyer in my Sunday newspaper showed a $3.days while your rebate form is being processed.

If you visit 3 stores a month.800 a year. even if you don't normally shop there. bounce and shine – getting premium products makes all the difference in the world. at the same time. All that said. Saving $8. however. And if you have teenagers in the family whose entire world revolves around hair volume. BIG IDEA 63: Some drug store chains will let you redeem both STORE coupons and MANUFACTURER coupons for the same item. you could literally get $150 in FREE stuff each month – up to $1.• No Price Reductions.000 a year on drug store supplies! BIG IDEA 62: Rebate clubs give you money back on everyday items that you're probably buying already. this one technique alone could save you over $1. Since you need them and are going to buy them anyway – regardless of the cost – it's well worth your time to apply for and get all of the rebates that are available. The rebate club offers can allow you to get as much as $50 in FREE merchandise each month. many of which are only available from a pharmacy and not a dollar store. Even if you're not super-diligent or the offers aren't that lucrative every month of the year. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 10 BIG IDEA 61: Visit all of the major drug store chain stores in your area at least once a month. the items are usually priced at full retail value – so you're starting from the highest price-point possible.00 per item for premium products – in this case hair care items. When the drug store puts out savings like this. the savings are still well worth the effort of claiming them. It gives you a double-whammy of savings and often makes it possible for you to buy the super-premium brands at a price that is less than the 'bargain' no-name products! 76 .00 on a total purchase price of $14 for three items is a bargain among bargains – you end up paying $2.

but the photo may show a certain flavor or packaging style of that product. assume that their 77 . Unless the fine print specifically says that all sizes and flavors qualify. bottles of Fizzy-Soda. using the 'buy 10' offer as an example.) There may be a date limit to your purchase. so be sure you follow them so you'll actually get the rebate check in the mail rather than a "we're sorry" notice. LOOK AT THE PHOTO. the offer may require that you mail in the original coupon and not use a photocopy or printout off a rebate website. Also. 2. The fine print may say that the offer is good on a particular brand of product. so you can't use last week's receipt if the starting date is from this week's newspaper. minus the cost of the envelope and stamp to mail it back in. But instead of just giving the fine print a cursory glance. Another key thing to watch is the quantity per individual item that is allowed.Chapter 11: A Rebate Returned is Money Earned INDIVIDUAL PRODUCT OR BRAND REBATES: Are they worth the effort? YES!!! One way that manufacturers attempt to boost the sales of their entire product line is to offer a cash back deal when you buy a certain number of their products. Remember that this offer gives you back $0. and understand it BEFORE you shop – or you could be off the rebate money. Here are some of the 'secrets' of gaining the best value with a rebate. They may require a certain size / flavor / packaging of the product (12 oz. Okay. read it. A typical example is "$5 cash back when you buy 10 of your favorites!" The ad will show a photo of the items you have to buy to get the rebate. 1. you can buy up to two of any particular item – any more of that item will not count towards the ten-item minimum. so this one is obvious. In this case. As always – there are details and conditions you have to know. READ THE FINE PRINT. cans of Fizzy-Soda may not qualify if the coupon specifically requires that you buy 16 oz. circling each of the ten on the receipt.50 per item purchased. The offer may require that you send in the original cash register receipt for each of the 10 items.

canned vegetables and their entire line of Mexican food products.00 per can.10 (55¢ coupon) $0.78 $0. the photo shows the higher-priced items – kids-size yogurt tubes. c.39 $1. In one example.50 $0. plus they have many lower cost items like refried beans which are often priced at less than $1.00) .70 (35¢ coupon) $0.70 (35¢ coupon) $1.70 (35¢ coupon) $1. they're also on sale quite frequently.30 ($5. b. A little detective work can often greatly increase the value you get from the rebate. LOOK AT WHAT'S NOT IN THE PHOTO.50 $0. your mission should be to purchase the 10 lowest-price items that will qualify for the offer. kids' fruit snacks.50 $0. but they're not shown in the photo.39 $11.50 $0.50 $0.99 FINAL COST $24.89 each) Frozen Carrots $1.59 Croissants in a Tube $1.59 Yogurt in a Tube $3.99 'Helper' Meal Mix $2.78 Quantity 2 ($0. To get the maximum value for your effort. meal helper mixes – mostly the highest-priced items in the offer.89 $2.50 $1.89 Can Green Beans $1. The soup line is already heavily couponed.29 ($0. 3. 2) $0.39 $1.09 $2.89 $3. See if you can guess why these items weren't shown: soup.10 (55¢ coupon) $1.30) $0. The Mexican food line is also heavily couponed.intention is that you buy the one shown in the photo.50 $0.01) $0.30) $0.80 (40¢ coupon) $0.99 $1. meaning you can find coupons for these items every day in numerous places.30 TOTAL SAVINGS $0 78 $1.99 $1.00 ($13.10 (55¢ coupon) $1.49 $2.39 $0. yogurt drinks.10 (55¢ coupon) ($8.09 $3.00 (qty.59 Baking Mix $3.49 $19.50 - $2.39 Frozen Waffle Sticks $3.00 (50¢ coupon) $0. Here's why: Item Cost Retail Price Savings With Doubled Coupons Rebate Amount On This Item Net Cost of Item After Rebate AND Coupons Net Cost of Item After Rebate Only (No Coupons) Cereal A $3.59 $0.49 Biscuits in a Tube $1. Other products are listed in the fine print as qualifying for the offer. Here's why: a. While the name brand canned vegetables are typically more expensive than the store brands.09 $1.08 $3. and you can also find coupons for them from time to time. and use coupons when purchasing as many of the 10 items as possible.

but this one technique can generate $100 to $300 per year in savings: it's like getting your groceries FREE for 1 or 2 weeks out of the year. The manufacturers are counting on you NOT to make the effort. It doesn't sound like much. you'll save over 45% on the same groceries! Big Idea Recap – Chapter 11 BIG IDEA 64: There’s no doubt about it: mail-in rebates are a real pain in the neck.As you can see. you can save an extra $10. But if you DO make the effort. But if you use the coupons in combination with the rebate. $20 or $30 a month on groceries. 79 . the rebate was a good deal to begin with – by itself it saved you almost 26% on the groceries. due to all of the paperwork you have to complete.

80 .

500 per year after taxes. The Jones family earns a salary of $36. etc. dairy products. for an even average take-home amount of $100 per day. For an example. they can spend a total of $150 per week at the grocery store. if they are to remain viable and profitable. Assuming that the Jones family eats every breakfast and dinner at home. – items they use each and every day. or a total of $21.Chapter 12: The Economics of Food Grocery Selections = Operating Margin In the restaurant business – as in any business – the difference between the COST OF THE INGREDIENTS and the SALE PRICE of the prepared food item is called the MARGIN. This gives them a total spending allotment of $600 per month. let's look at a fictitious family. and 'brown bags' their lunches. This is the primary reason that chefs look for the lowest-cost provider of the CORE ingredients they use in their restaurant. (Note that this is DIFFERENT from the FEATURED ingredients or SPECIALTY items). Here's how this $100 per day is spent: Mortgage: 35% Utilities: 10% Home Maintenance: 5% Insurance / Health Care: 10% Clothing / Personal: 10% Auto: 5% Savings / Retirement: 5% Food / Entertainment: 20% TOTAL: 100% This family's budget for food and entertainment is $20 per day. This margin of profitability determines how much PROFIT the restaurant will make at the end of the day. Learning how to control your margin can make a huge difference in how well your family lives. Your home budget has a MARGIN as well. Restaurants must maintain their budgets and a high level of profit margin. 81 . We're talking about flour.43 per day on meals. spices.

If the restaurant doesn't show a profit.43 per day. every item that you pay full price for will DETRACT from your operating margin. Often. Every item that you can buy for less will IMPROVE your operating margin. The success of your family's annual budget depends on staying within – or below – your budgetary margin consistently. reduce or eliminate their savings. the MARGIN determines whether the establishment will show a profit at the end of the month or not. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 12 BIG IDEA 65: Operate your home kitchen the same way that a professional chef operates his or her kitchen: as a business. the family budget will fail and the family will eventually declare bankruptcy or lean on parents or other relatives to bail them out financially. or whether they will need to take money away from the other budgeted items to meet their grocery bill. every item that you pay full price for will DETRACT from your operating margin.The MARGIN for the Jones family is whether they can actually feed their family on $21. This is why it is important to stretch your family budget as much as possible. If the family's total expenditure consistently outstrips their income. the family must do without new clothing. month after month. the owner doesn't get a paycheck. Every item that you can buy for less will IMPROVE your operating margin. The success of your family's annual budget depends on staying within or below your budgetary margin consistently. If the restaurant consistently fails to create a margin of profit. or reduce in one of the other areas. the area that must give way is the owner's paycheck. So let's take a look at smart choices you can make to get the absolute most out of your grocery dollar. month after month. At the Jones household. Operate your home kitchen the same way that a professional chef operates their kitchen: as a business. 82 . if the food expenditure exceeds the budgeted 20%. the business will fail. and why the choices you make at the grocery store CAN and WILL impact all areas of your family's life. At a restaurant. cancel their insurance.

Another thing I'm not advocating is a change in your diet. as long as you and your family can consume them before they expire or lose their freshness. That approach simply doesn't work if you have a fulltime job. Get larger sizes of items. Most of us are lucky to find a halfhour to ourselves every other day. while paying less for them. and frankly I don't care what foods you choose to buy or eat. This same rule of thumb applies to hundreds of everyday grocery items.Chapter 13: Smart Grocery Choices & Core Ingredients Let me start by saying that I'm not preaching here. some eggs. get some professional advice. Most of us need or justifiably want the conveniences of prepared foods to reduce our time in the kitchen. consider buying the big jar every 4 weeks. If you want to change your diet. and put a plan in place. household supplies and personal care items. go see your doctor. They are: • BUY BIG. I don't advocate going 'back to your roots' and only buying raw materials. Many writers have covered that territory. let's leave it at that. What I hope to do here is give you some ideas on how to enjoy the foods you want to eat. There are three major ways to cut your grocery bill. I'm not a doctor. It doesn't fit too well with modern life. totally apart from using coupons or obtaining store discounts. that's fine. let alone tackle a return to an allnatural lifestyle. That's all. telling you that you only need to buy a sack of flour. 83 . If you typically buy a small jar of peanut butter every two weeks. a social life. That's nice if your cup of tea is cooking everything from scratch and tending a garden for two or three hours a day. milk and a few ingredients and grow everything else in your backyard. and/or kids in school. but only costs about 40% to 50% more. The big jar typically contains twice as much. Mom needs a break too. you know. but by selecting the smallest package you are probably paying more per ounce than if you bought the bigger package. You may be in the habit of buying the smallest item because you want the least-expensive item.

A frozen dinner mixture may contain bite-size nuggets of chicken. Bulgar Wheat. Buy the core ingredients of recipes. Put two or three of the item on your back shelf. • BUY BASIC. but for most families they are already a core part of their diet – often without consciously selecting them: • Potatoes • Onions • Carrots • Tomatoes • Mixed Vegetables – Seasonal • Rice • Pasta • Meats: chicken.00 to $6. stock up & save. Sweet Potatoes. Find the logical middle ground that works for you and your schedule. Again. as long as the items are not highly perishable or they have a fairly decent shelf life. rice and sauce. Currently. (unless you have teenagers and a 5 lb. Stock up when items are on sale. • Alternative Core Ingredients: Tofu. when you consider the cost of eating the same type of meal at a restaurant. you may not use any of the following core ingredients in your food selections. 84 . bag of food is an appetizer…) That's not too bad. plus chopped broccoli. A bag of this mixture probably costs about $5. pork.00. As long as you will eventually consume the item. How? Let's look at the core ingredients. There is a middle ground between buying a prepared baking mixture and growing your own wheat.• MAKE TIMELY BUYS. beef. But it's not the best you can do price-wise. Grits. Select according to your taste & dietary preferences. Let's use a frozen all-in-one dinner mix as an example. if it's available now at half the cost or below. and cooking the same meal from scratch could cost you less than half this much. even if you won't need them for six months or a year. and will sort of feed the average four-person family adequately. But buy the primary ingredients of recipes rather than the put-together final products. etc. rather than preassembled mixtures of core ingredients. invest in additional units of items when they are at their lowest cost.

cooked broccoli . it's an okay meal. cook on low for about 10 minutes. . The cost difference between frozen / boxed / dehydrated vegetables and fresh vegetables is not always huge. am I saying that ALL pre-mixed dinners or boxes of pre-cooked side dishes are bad? NO – of course not! The food companies are not bad people.Two or three cups of cooked rice . the garlic isn't really zingy. except there's usually not as much chicken as you would like. It's sustenance. In some cases. but nothing to rave about. the fresh vegetables can actually be higher.One to one and a half chicken breasts cut in pieces. and they're not idiots.Two or three cups of chopped.One or two cooked carrots. isn't it? PERISH THE THOUGHT! Dinnertime should be about enjoying your food. chopped . had to mention this…) Sounds like a lot.Various spices in minute amounts .1/4 cup of soy sauce . and you can save a lot of time and effort by using them. color and smell of a fresh-cooked meal – that's the difference between simply eating and eating well. and that's what dinnertime is all about. But in combination with all of the other elements that go into a meal.One or two garlic cloves. and it's ready to serve. The vast majority of these pre-mixed food items are very high in quality. because it was chopped.The pre-blended mixture contains roughly the following ingredients: . And. starting from core ingredients will almost always be less expensive. sliced . cooked and frozen a long time ago. doesn't it? You dump the contents of the bag into a saucepan. But just be aware that you are paying a price for this convenience. either. savoring the taste. The quality of the food is reasonably acceptable. The broccoli and carrots are kind of mushy. Are All Mixes Bad? Of Course Not! Now. because they were cooked a few months ago and frozen.Various preservatives and chemicals (sorry. 85 . So overall.

the more you will lower your cost of food. and you can easily cut your food costs in HALF. you can have fresh stuffing in about 5 or 10 minutes. Stock up on them when the pricing is right. the lower the cost per serving. or the items you buy are very perishable. The more you get back to basics in your meal preparation. it's actually pretty darned good stuff! The moral of this story: many. IF you were starting from scratch.Variety – and Pre-Mixed Foods – Can Be A GOOD Thing! Some pre-mixed or prepared foods allow you to enjoy items you would rarely cook from scratch – if ever. you can go back to the core ingredients and replicate these mixes with fresh ingredients. you can reduce your total cost of food. so they'll be on hand when you need them. many. and you have a coupon for them. Just remember this: in most cases. If you are cooking for one. the smaller the package – the greater the cost per ounce / pound. resulting in better quality for less money. or you eat like a church mouse. so it's just about the same thing YOU would make. the bigger the package. Is it bad stuff? Well. it's made of bread and spices. Pre-packaged meals can cost up to 5 times as much as the same meal prepared from scratch. So no – it's NOT bad stuff. BIG IDEA 67: Generally speaking. But for everyone / everything else. and they can save you a lot of time. would you make fresh stuffing if you had to start with the bread and spices and mix it all yourself? Probably not. when you buy pre-mixed / preseasoned / prepared meals. 86 . many of these pre-mixed food products are very good. you are paying a HUGE mark-up for the service. WHICH you wouldn't ever do. Develop a set of time-saving recipes that use core ingredients. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 13 BIG IDEA 66: By using core ingredients to prepare your family's meals. But with a box of ready-to-go stuffing mix. buying small makes sense. For example. All I'm suggesting here is that you buy them when they're on sale. And in many cases.

If it's a non-perishable item. the more you will lower your cost of food.BIG IDEA 68: When you see a bargain. but you'll be saving a lot of cash down the road. grab it. 87 . grab 2 or 3 and stash them away for future use. BIG IDEA 69: Whenever you buy pre-mixed / pre-seasoned / prepared meals. you are paying a HUGE mark-up for the service. The more you get back to basics in your meal preparation. You'll be investing a little cash now.

88 .

Add a touch of seasoning and they're on just about everyone's top-10 list. Yes. Example: a potato. Tomatoes are so flavorpacked. It's hard to top perfection. The greatest chefs in the world all cook the same way: they start with a core ingredient at the base and then they add something to it to make it unique. some dishes are more elaborate and require multiple base items. Real Cooking Let me be frank here: cooking is actually very. Example: a tomato. many middleeastern dishes revolve around grains. Cook it until tender. Don't get me started. but you can't improve on the pure nutrition that is built into the spud. but overall it's incredibly packed with flavor – right out of the ground. you might add a little butter or tiny touch of brown sugar. A few minor enhancements can do wonders. simple. and then count the dishes that have multiple core ingredients. sauté them – you can do a 1. Cook them. You will be amazed at how simple the vast majority of dishes really are. and it's wonderful on the palate. Many Italian dishes revolve around pasta. But the next time you are in your favorite restaurant. and delicious. but deep down basic food is pretty darn good to begin with! Example: a carrot. whip them. there are exceptions to every rule. 89 . You really don't have to do a lot of fancy cooking to make good food when you start with nature's finest. Granted. they're tremendous in a million different ways. of course. They are wonderfully complex yet simple at the same time. and many Indian and southern Asian dishes revolve around a vegetable base. A little enhancement can make a world of difference. With the majority of foods. fry them. very simple.Chapter 14: Real Food.001 things with a potato. many Chinese and Japanese dishes revolve around rice. It rarely needs any improvement. Of course. simple is best: the basic flavor of the core ingredients is pure. scan down the menu and count the dishes that are based on one core ingredient. many Irish dishes revolve around potatoes.

The food industry WANTS you to think that cooking is difficult. In reality. I want to change the way you think about cooking. bacon bits. Top with cheese (I like mozzarella on mine). To make my point. here are five dinners you can cook in LESS THAN FIVE MINUTES (and actually less than 1 minute if you're fast…) 1. TACOS. and the family goes wild with glee at the wonderful taste and nutrition. etc.) 2. We're all too busy these days to even think about cooking. butter or butter substitute. you'll discover that it simply doesn’t have to be that difficult. Serve with salsa. Take a taco shell out of the package. Add a few scoops of canned chunky chili. Microwave it for 5 to 7 minutes.Okay. Shake some sea salt on the outside. BUYING THEIR MIX = SIMPLICITY and COMFORT. if you approach it correctly. I know you're thinking: "I'm too busy to cook. so you'll buy their pre-cooked meals. Microwave for 1 to 2 minutes. Wean yourself from the notion that cooking is difficult. too. BAKED POTATO. too!) They always show how the preparation takes just a minute or two. let alone crack open the recipe book. I have to use premade mixes. Wash it off. Take a potato. It's the key to seriously reducing your food budget. If people knew how easy it is to cook from scratch – at a fraction of the price of buying their prepackaged meals – they wouldn't make as much money. cooking from scratch (or at least using a few core ingredients) can be JUST AS EASY. THIS IS BRAINWASHING. Poke holes in it with a fork. sour cream or plain yogurt. you have a valid point. why is it always the WIFE? We husbands cook. Think of how many commercials you've seen where the wife heats up a ready-to-eat dish of pre-mixed stuff. And yes. If you can change your mindset about core ingredients and what it MEANS to cook. (And by the way. and the end results are always perfect. 90 . Cooking can be one of the simplest things in your life. Serve with your choice of toppings (cheese. PEOPLE! They are conditioning you to think that COOKING = HARD WORK and PAIN. I don't have time to cook".

most restaurant menu items are just a core ingredient with enhancements. BUT – if you buy a bag of frozen Chinese vegetables and a bag of pre-cooked peeled shrimp. You could also sauté some meat or seafood if you'd like. So vary your enhancements. put 2 cups of the rice in a pot. The secret to innovative. RAMEN NOODLES. It's quick – it's tasty – and you'll think you ordered take out. and it's very tasty. toss in the noodles. My kids love this one: boil up a box of noodles – any kind – such as ziti. drain.) Shake some powdered parmesan or romano cheese on top. it will be good as new. and chop in a few chunks of butter (or butter substitute if you're watching your cholesterol. You heat 2 cups of water until boiling.grocerysavings. When they're done. exciting cooking is to vary the sauces. You know what these are. seasonings and styles of the additional items you add to your core ingredients. and you've got a quick cheesy meal. bowties. When you need to make a quick lunch or dinner. whatever. To top it. elbow. If you're constantly stretched for time. and they're ready in 3 minutes.) Sauté these with a little hot pepper oil until tender. they're the little "6 for $1" packages of noodles. add some pepper and salt. chop up a tomato. As I mentioned above. then toss on top of the rice and add a little soy Feel free to share your favorites with friends. It's fast. and you've got a spicy oriental soup that makes a very enjoyable dinner. add a little water. you can sauté these in a frying pan with a little hot pepper oil while the noodles are cooking. (For convenience. put into a bowl. There are hundreds of these types of recipes out there. Not too exciting. ALFREDO A LA QUICKIE. and heat on low for 5 minutes. 91 . 4. RICE WITH VEGGIES. cook a pot of rice on Sunday and keep it in the fridge all week long. it takes 10 to 15 minutes to cook. Toss them into the finished soup. You'll get new ones every week by email if you subscribe to my membership site located at www. you can also buy a bag of frozen veggies and use just a tiny portion. maybe some squash and carrots. but you only have to stir them once in a while. One bag will make about 5 or 6 dinners. and add that.3. 5. Sure. so it's very cheap as well.

and you'll keep your menu vibrant and inviting. If you start building a list of quick. you'll be saving LOTS of money. if you approach it correctly. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 14 BIG IDEA 70: You really don't have to do a lot of fancy cooking to make good food when you start with nature's finest. It's hard to top perfection.experiment. try new things. easy-to-cook recipes that use CORE INGREDIENTS and that your family enjoys. Plus. It's the key to seriously reducing your food budget. BIG IDEA 71: The food industry wants to DISCOURAGE you from cooking. BIG IDEA 72: Wean yourself from the notion that cooking is difficult. so you'll buy their over-priced pre-mixed dinners. If it is. Cooking can be one of the simplest things in your life. you're doing it wrong! Do it right. too. and you'll eat better. you can cut your food costs in half. 92 . But first – you have to become an expert at cooking the core ingredients. healthier food every day. BIG IDEA 73: Cooking fast & delicious meals for yourself and your family should not be a chore.

Investing in a few basic items could really make your life easier. two cups of water. (HINT: boil a pot of water. this chapter will be critical to your success in weaning yourself from pre-packaged meals. (HINT: nature made this recipe easy. nutritious dinner. Get familiar with cooking core ingredients from scratch. • If you can learn to make rice. It's always double the water for a single unit of rice. you've got the basic foundation for about half a gazillion Chinese recipes. Heck. the rest is a cakewalk. cook 'em a few minutes more. They can save you huge amounts of time in the kitchen. Stir it once in a while.Chapter 15: A System for Cooking = A System for Savings How to Develop a System for Cooking Core Ingredients.) • If you can peel & boil potatoes.) • If you can learn to boil noodles. the rest – pun fully intended – is gravy. This doesn't have to be expensive. Easy. the rest of the cooking process is a breeze. If they're still too hard at 10 minutes. (Have you seen those 'potato martinis' they serve in the fanciest restaurants? They're nothing more than mashed potatoes topped with sautéed meats and vegetables. Once you've got your own system down. I would suggest that you take an inventory of your appliances. If you can really get the hang of cooking core ingredients. 93 . One cup of rice. If you're cooking-challenged. you can make Italian food with your hands tied. GOOD APPLIANCES CAN HELP. So if you want to take control of your food budget and really cut your dependency on packaged meals. and many just about do all the work for you. and they frequently give $5 and $10 rebates for buying them. the local pharmacy sells appliances now. What a novel idea!) Once you determine how best to cook your core ingredients. Set your timer to 10 minutes. We are so lucky today to have time-saving appliances available for every conceivable kitchen task. easy to remember. you can add countless varieties of toppings for a healthy.

press the "chop" button. and your meat will fall off the fork. a pressure cooker can make even the cheapest cuts of meat tender. They’re also ideal for grating hard cheeses. cool for 30 minutes. so there's not a lot of clean-up. You dump your ingredients in. FOOD PROCESSOR (or mini-processor if you're single or you've got a small family). and it's chopped in about 5 seconds. And the bowl. It's our job to keep the family happy. But hey. and if the family won't eat what we cook – what good is it? So cook what your family loves. And let me share a secret that every fine Italian cook will tell you: buy a block of hard cheese and grate it in your mini-processor just before serving over your pasta. Plus. Peel an onion. A good processor will cut your cooking time by half. and in 15 minutes or so your rice is done perfectly. cut it into 4 pieces and drop it in the processor. garlic. kids just love rice. scallions. especially if you’ve got small kids to tend to. water and salt / pepper in the pot.) They make excellent chicken soup (put a chicken. And as a bonus – rice is still very reasonably priced. plug it in. You don't need to watch it. Now. One of the easiest things to cook is rice – and one of the best time-savers is to get a rice cooker. Plus. stir it or tend to it in any way. those of us on the front-line of the family-feeding war need all the help we can get. turn off the heat and let it sit for 30 minutes. The same thing goes for carrots. blades & cover all go right into the dishwasher. and they'll love you back all the more. RICE COOKER. squash – basically any hard vegetable. Buy a huge bag.Listed below are some items that I couldn't live without. For some reason. It will be the best chicken soup 94 . vegetables. some of you nutritional purists will shudder at some of these suggestions. and save. They're great for stews (cook for 15 minutes. It will make an ordinary meal extraordinary. these scare the daylights out of most people. It’s the ideal cooking helper. They shouldn't – because a pressure cooker can cut your cooking time by 50% or more – and they lock all the nutrients into your food. once the pressure weight is rocking cook it for 20 minutes. PRESSURE COOKER.

Now. Add 3/4 cup water. try pressure-cooking in your household and you'll be a convert for life. Cool the cooker immediately and remove the chops. Close the pressure cooker. and deep fry the veggies and shrimp in the fryer. turn up the heat. They'll be fully-cooked. it makes them look more appetizing and more like oven-baked chops. I like to remove them. Serve over the soba noodles and soup and you've got a dynamic Japanese meal that the family will love. I can take a basic potato – probably costing about 25 cents or less – and create restaurant-quality fries in about 10 minutes. Mix up some tempura batter. Chop up some vegetables – broccoli. and cook for about 10 minutes once the weight starts rocking. You just have to get over the 'guilt' factor and admit that most people love fried foods. what do you order when you're in a restaurant? Being able to cook restaurant-quality fried foods in your household can significantly reduce your food budget. cauliflower. But admit your vice and face your fears. tender and ready-to-eat. But what do the kids order every time you're in a restaurant? Heck. Yes. try this. and your veggies are ready to serve. and brown in the broiler for about 3 minutes. Just sear your chops in the pressure cooker in a little oil (adding garlic. 95 . if you want to reduce the amount of fried foods you serve but still add the flavor and appeal of fried foods to your menu. it's a nutritional've ever had. The only difference: you've saved at least an hour of cooking time! They're ideal for cutting the time required to cook vegetables (cooks in 1 to 5 minutes after the pressure weight starts rocking. carrots – and get some fresh peeled shrimp. cool the cooker immediately with cold water.) They can cut an hour or more out of the cooking time required for meats such as pork chops. Plus. I know people want to live "healthy" and avoid fried foods. It's not THAT bad for you from time to time… I bought a family-sized fryer at the drug store for $20 after rebate. top with bread crumbs. It's really a great appliance. Make a pot of Japanese noodles – soba noodles are available in many import shops. DEEP FRYER. salt & pepper for flavor) for about 3 minutes on each side. Yes. Heat up some chicken broth for the soup.) Get over the fear.

The #1 use. Oil your griddle lightly. The result is a flavorful. You see? A deep fryer is NOT the evil device you thought it was…! ELECTRIC GRIDDLE. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 15 BIG IDEA 74: Adding a few inexpensive appliances to your kitchen will make cooking easier. Total cost for 8 servings: about 15¢ a serving. is to make pancakes. 96 . This appliance is indispensable in my household. it will help you switch to a "fresh cooked" diet rather than a "frozen / reheated" diet – which can save you big bucks on your groceries. But it’s also ideal for dozens of other recipes as well. hearty breakfast or side dish. and you don’t skin your knuckles. Cut into 8 squares and flip each square and cook for another 10 minutes or so. of course.) Grate an onion as well. Mix it all together with salt & pepper. Plus. Spread the mixture all across your griddle and cook on medium-high heat for 15 minutes. One of my favorites is hash brown've minimized the amount of fried foods you're serving. cheaper – and more nutritious for your family. and the taste won’t even come close to that of the home-made recipe. Grate 3 or 4 potatoes in your food processor (SO much easier than grating by hand. The frozen hash browns in your grocer’s freezer will cost about 3 times that amount.

and the way you prepare your meals. – There's no time to cook. you're going to find enough time to get out a pan. and you 97 . consider the alternative answers.I hate to cook. see if somewhere in your busy day you could find just 5 minutes to steal and re-apply to meal preparation. the recipes you use (or don't use). add the glop. Healthier Meals Why do so few people cook fresh meals? Do you give any credibility to these common myths: . – I'm too busy to shop. Again. Consider some simple steps in the way you approach cooking. didn't you? Consider that you could buy a variety of core ingredients – many of which are also found in the freezer section – with just a few extra minutes of shopping time.There's no time to cook. I'm pretty sure you can find the five minutes! You can cook fresh meals from CORE INGREDIENTS in almost the same amount of time it takes to heat up a pre-mixed meal. For everyone else. The moral of this story is this: you're already devoting a certain amount of time to meal preparation. .I'm too busy to shop. .My family wouldn't know the difference anyway. The reward will be meals that can be much tastier and probably a lot healthier for you and your family. You had enough time to buy the bag of premade stuff. Now. If your schedule is SO TIGHT that you absolutely could not find 5 minutes anywhere – and your life is literally on a stopwatch every minute of the day – you probably have a personal shopper and a personal chef. Then. heat the glop and dish it up.Chapter 16: Quick-Cooking: The Secret to Happier. Plus. you'll probably find 20 or 30 minutes to eat the meal. . Consider some minor alterations to the ingredients you buy.

To avoid cooking. though. which is nothing more than a filler and it's aptly named. The reason many families are oblivious to the taste or quality of their food is that they've never experienced real cooking. and if you do it right it won't take you a lot of extra time. simple meals that your family will love. Don't you think that might be healthier than a ton of food starch and preservatives? YES! Do you think you might feel better by eating allnatural ingredients? YES! The proof is in the pudding (or pasta. they don't expect anything better. and lower your food costs. A lot of people choose DUMPING over COOKING. The one and only ingredient in the can of tomatoes is TOMATOES. People eat bottled spaghetti sauce over pasta. with almost no additional 98 . What if you could just dump DIFFERENT bags or cans of stuff into the same pot. You might be surprised on this one. It FILLS you up but is it good for you? You can buy a can of crushed tomatoes for less than the can of prepared sauce. "QUICK COOKING" will allow you to produce quality meals for less. Your family WILL notice the difference and chances are they'll thank you for the improvement. They eat what they're given.can save time. Look at the ingredients of the sauce: it's full of modified food starch. Even if you DETEST setting foot in the kitchen. many people simply DUMP bags or cans of glop into saucepans and heat it up. – My family wouldn't know the difference anyway. It will make your meals extra special. in the interest of saving time. and make a much more satisfying and healthy meal. in this case). I call this QUICK COOKING. because it's all that they know. add a few pennies worth of spices. and even the most die-hard mageirocophobiac (person with an intense fear of cooking) can become an efficient quick cooking expert and save money on food with a little patience. – I hate to cook. Take it one step at a time. This is a valid concern if you view cooking as a chore – which many people do. But I'd like to propose an alternative to cooking. and enjoy it a whole lot more. even if you find the recipe for boiling water too difficult. because it's what they've always eaten. enjoy better meals. you CAN learn to cook quick fast.

pull out a pan. starts with a core ingredient or multiple core ingredients. and the high-priced alternatives they replace. and how you're doing it. whatever you choose to cook.uncooked Oatmeal .canned Fresh broccoli. you can make TREMENDOUS changes in the cost of your meals as well as your family's satisfaction with them. rip open a bag. prepared meals with tiny portions Pre-baked biscuits. etc. how do we handle this "QUICK COOKING" without a lot of work and clean up? Let's look at a few core meal ingredients and how you can use them to create dozens of exciting. You're just being more selective in what you're putting into the pan. etc. You end up taking the same basic steps you do now: open a can. frozen waffles Cans or jars of sauce. dry potato flakes. cheese. turn on the stove. in the case of packaged foods).investment of your time. Insider Secret: You're Already Buying Core Ingredients – But Not At Their Source! As previously mentioned. poultry and fish Baking Mix Homemade sauces & gravies Fresh tortillas. it doesn't matter if you're a meat-eater or a vegetarian. With just a few minutes of planning. canned beans "Closeout" fresh vegetables (items that the store must sell today or throw away) HIGH-PRICED PREPARED ITEM Pre-cooked rice in frozen dinners Frozen French fries. Tomatoes . For the sake of this discussion. To these they add a variety of topping or add-ins to create the final meal that you eat. Okay. frozen Prepared spaghetti sauce Frozen or canned vegetables Tiny amounts of chicken found in prepared dinners Canned noodle dinners or pasta mix meals Tiny packets of partially-cooked dried oatmeal Baked loaves of bread Frozen. LOW-COST CORE INGREDIENT Rice . carrots. you can follow these tips and start cooking and eating better and cheaper.large drum. delicious recipes. a vegan or a Venutian. frozen or tube biscuit dough. or packets of dry gravy mix Frozen Mexican food dinners Vegetable soup in the can 99 . skinless chicken breasts Pasta . The chef (or food manager. uncooked Bread flour Fresh meats.fresh potato wedges. beans. any fresh vegetable Boneless. Here are some of the core ingredients that you can buy at the source as fresh ingredients. most cuisines – from the most basic to the most exotic – are variations on a theme.dry Potatoes .

(more about this later). store. BIG IDEA 76: You can cook fresh meals from CORE INGREDIENTS in almost the same amount of time as heating up a pre-mixed meal. Think of food ingredients the way the chefs do: as building blocks to fine meals. and you can save time – enjoy better meals – and lower your food costs. train yourself to select CORE INGREDIENTS rather than pre-mixed meals. having them accessible. c.The secret to feeding your family well – with tasty and enticing food on a bargain-basement budget. let's look at: a. and serve nutritious meals your family will actually eat. To get a handle on how remarkably simple these three steps can be. what's cheapest / freshest). Big Idea Recap – Chapter 16 BIG IDEA 75: Regardless of how little or how much time you have to shop. b. BIG IDEA 77: Even if you DETEST setting foot in the kitchen. Consider some simple steps in the way you approach cooking. The way you plan your menus. seasonings and styles that are appropriate for your family's eating habits. with no time to cook and no time to shop – is in three key steps: • AVAILABILITY of economical core ingredients. The best way for YOU to cook. Determine what you have to work with first (i. even if 100 . then decide what you're going to build and how you're going to build it.e. The way you buy these items. • FLEXIBILITY to mix and match the ingredients that you can buy economically. • TECHNIQUE to quickly prepare and cook your meals using some core sauces. and you will save tremendous amounts of money.

BIG IDEA 79: Think of food ingredients the way the fine chefs do: as building blocks to fine meals. simple meals that your family will love. you CAN learn to quick fast. with almost no additional investment of your time.e. 101 . BIG IDEA 78: "QUICK COOKING" will allow you to produce quality meals for less. what's cheapest / freshest).you find the recipe for boiling water too difficult. then decide what you're going to build and how you're going to build it. Determine what you have to work with first (i.

102 .

If shrimp is on sale. they can charge whatever they'd like for the items in the restaurant? Well. Surely. It may be the farmer's market. You may wonder why the chefs use this method. Great chefs plan their menu when they go to the market. Nutritious Meals With Your Core Items Let's review how a variety of core ingredients can be prepared. it's often because the item is in season – and hence is very fresh and is available in large quantities. That's because those items are in most abundant supply – and therefore the lowest in cost – are usually the freshest. How to Cook Delicious. technically they can. If the chef 's special sounds appealing and it costs a few dollars less than the other items. If the flounder is fresh and the other choices start out frozen. Do you know how the world's greatest chefs decide their menus? Ask any chef what they will be cooking tonight. If flounder is in abundance at the fish market and the price is lower than that of the other fish. or the wholesale meat market. then enhanced with additional ingredients to create unique meals. and they'll tell you that it depends on what is in season. because they are being harvested now – not six months ago. But that doesn't mean people will pay. the fresh seafood market. When an item is in abundance.Chapter 17: Planning Your Menus How to choose value ingredients to make luxury meals. which do you think will taste better? CHEAPEST can often mean BEST when it comes to food selections. RICE Rice can be made from 'scratch' very easily. tonight's special will be shrimp. The fastest way is with a pressure cooker or a rice cooker. don't you sometimes choose the special? Another reason to choose the chef 's special is abundance. Think of your own dining experiences. tonight's special will be flounder. Nature came up with a very easy 103 .

Continue microwaving for 1 minute at a time until done. saffron or other spices. lightly beat one or two eggs in a bowl (but not so much that bubbles form). just add a little water. Try it. Worcestershire sauce. Microwave for about 3 minutes. There are countless ways to make tasty meals with rice. Add a splash of teriyaki. For fried rice. 104 . then add your other ingredients. To reheat.recipe for rice: 1 part rice. You'll cut vast amounts of time out of your cooking procedures. add to the rice mixture and flip after a minute or so. barbecue sauce or any other ingredients you like. if you like it richer. straight from nature: 1 part oatmeal. You can 'nuke' rice back to health in your microwave. Recipes. Just store the leftover rice in a plastic storage bowl. huh? You may want to add a dash of sea salt. For families on the go. 2 parts water. and be ready to reheat them quickly for individual meals. Let it steam for a few minutes. 2 parts water (or milk. Sounds pretty easy. Make a large quantity of your core ingredients. chicken bouillon. try freezing your rice in small plastic containers. mix 1/2 cup oatmeal with 1 cup of water or milk. sashimi (imitation crab). See? Cooking can be easy and fun! OATMEAL Oatmeal has the same simple recipe. you'll be amazed at how smooth and creamy it comes out! For one serving. If your meals are more infrequent. beef. in a matter of minutes. cover and heat. soy sauce. and vegetables.) Oatmeal is one of the only foods that actually cooks better in a microwave than it does on the stove. you travel a lot and can't leave fresh food in the refrigerator. consider making a large pot of rice on Monday and using it in your recipes throughout the week. Some simple ideas are to add pre-cooked chicken. simply heat some oil in a frying pan then add your rice and cook until slightly browned.e. nothing could be simpler. i. but it's usually best just to cook plain white rice. then stir and cover with a plate to prevent splashing. For egg fu yung. and you'll eat fresh-cooked quality with every meal.

Or. store then in a plastic storage bowl until you need them. and you've got a delicious baked potato that can serve as your main course. sour cream. That works out to about 25 cents per potato – one of the cheapest. bag. They'll only keep for a few days. I suggest using the imitation butter spray and / or powdered and flavored 'butter buds' that are available today. cooked broccoli. Lunch: Poke some holes in an unpeeled potato and microwave it for about 5 minutes. boiled & quartered with butter or chicken broth.. slice your potatoes and fry in butter to make home fries. for variety. They're fat free. If you're careful about what you put on them. hot sauce. Top with chili and cheese or canned meat to make a filling quick meal. Dinner: Serve them baked. etc. etc.50 for a 5-lb. Use them as a 'base' with stew or sautéed veggies on top. consult a recipe book and you'll be amazed at the uses for potatoes. they can be a healthy choice too. most nutritious foods in the grocery store. Families existed on potatoes during the potato famine in Ireland. of course…). full of fiber. To prepare a base supply of potatoes early in the week. Add a little cheese. by meal: Breakfast: Chop your cooked potatoes and fry them in butter to make tasty hash browns. Add cheese. to make a tasty meal. bacon bits. etc. just peel and boil your potatoes until fully cooked. mashed. and tasty. Recipes: Again. the possibilities for using potatoes in recipes are endless. chopped scallions. Then. Here are a few ideas. Again. bake. and they learned many different recipes to add variety. especially at the start of a strenuous work day where you'll need extra energy. so only cook what you can use fairly soon.POTATOES There are countless ways to cook with potatoes. The thing to bear in mind is that you can often find potatoes on sale for $2. You can boil.. microwave or fry potatoes in many different ways. These additives have 105 .00 or $2. Potatoes are an excellent addition to a hearty breakfast. just get a good cookbook (at a yard sale or thrift store.

Plus. I like to sauté a little chopped garlic in olive oil. vegetarian cooking. Dinner: One of the easiest and fastest ways to make spaghetti sauce is to use a can of chopped or whole tomatoes. Recipes: Get a cookbook to see any of the thousands of possibilities for tomatoes. Chop them up and add them to an omelet or just eat a raw tomato with a little salt. Here are a few of my favorites: Breakfast. and that is why it is the mainstay of their diet. Pour on top of cooked pasta and you have a great Italian dish. fried green tomatoes are also a delicacy. and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. and more value than just about any item in your grocery store. and can make a baked potato seem almost decadent even as this filling and flavorful meal actually helps you lose weight! A large bag of potatoes has more nutrition. starches and fillers that are common in the jars of sauce that most people use. fast alternative to fresh tomatoes – especially when you don't have time to shop. I know – you purists are saying you'd never eat a tomato out of a can. cans of tomatoes are typically a lot cheaper 106 . In the summer. Try a home-made Bacon Lettuce Tomato sandwich (BLT). more food volume. You're eliminating all of the additives. Ever had a sliced tomato on the plate with your bacon & eggs? They're delicious anyway but you can add either salt or sugar for even more flavor. and many ethnic foods from around the world.almost no fat or calories. The Irish knew this centuries ago. Yes. But for busy people they can be an excellent. TOMATOES Why single out tomatoes as an ingredient? I'm also singling them out because they're the staple ingredient in Italian cooking. In the south. They're easy to grow and relatively cheap to buy – especially the canned variety. Slice them and add to a ham or turkey sandwich. add the tomatoes and a little salt and pepper. nothing is better than a fresh-picked tomato! Lunch. or you're frequently on the road and fresh tomatoes just go bad on the shelf.

VEGETABLES Fresh veggies are probably the healthiest. tastiest items you can buy in a store. a powerful antioxidant that may help your body’s natural defenses prevent cancer. strap a rubber band around the dish. and your family will begin to eat healthier. put it in a glass or Pyrex dish. unique taste and nutrients. fast cook as described above. the more taste it will have. and enjoy meals more. To quote Rodney Dangerfield. There are hundreds if not thousands of varieties of tomatoes available. and you'll probably pay less. "Man – who don't like spaghetti?" Tomatoes are packed with tons of nutrients and they have great natural flavor. beets. then cook on high for about 4 or 5 minutes. and many of these small-batch tomatoes – while not commercially feasible to grow – are loaded in flavor. cover with plastic wrap. Do you know the easiest way to cook fresh broccoli? Wash it off. feel better. They're also probably one of the most misunderstood of foods. Another tip: if you’re ever at a farmer’s market and you find heirloom tomatoes. Heirloom tomatoes are grown from seeds that are not currently in massproduction. heart disease. the lighter the seasoning the better. So many people would rather rip open a bag of frozen broccoli than deal with stalks of fresh broccoli – presumably because they 'want to save time'. carrots. The total time expenditure is about the same but buy the broccoli on sale. add a little water.than the jars of sauce. and other serious diseases. almost every vegetable out there… Buy whatever veggies are on sale. buy them. And guess what: this same approach works for asparagus. I find that the less you cook tomatoes the better. They’re one of nature’s best sources of lycopene. You can make hundreds of recipes using tomatoes as your base. put the dish in a microwave. Here are some tips to win over the anti-veggie contingent in your household: 107 . You'll have perfectly steamed fresh broccoli that I GUARANTEE you will taste ten times better than the frozen stuff. potatoes. and the sooner you cook the tomato after picking from the vine.

Put into a big pot. they're only 99¢ at the drug store. Mother Nature put an immense amount of flavor and subtle tastes into veggies to begin with. try them on veggies and you will be pleasantly surprised. you can always use regular butter or margarine. . You won't be weighed down with all of the fat of sour cream and butter but the potato will taste great. Normally. If you don't like this.• Spray some fat-free butter on the veggies before you nuke them. you really don't have to add a lot more for most dishes).Wash / peel / chop the veggies. (Hint: less is more when it comes to spicing up a veggie dish. The recipe is extremely simple: .Tip 1: if the bacon bits are too hard on your teeth. (Yes. . 108 . but this will add useless calories and fat – especially the bad 'trans fats' – with little taste benefit.Tip 2: look for these in the discount spice rack at your neighborhood drug store. While most of their spices are about 95% salt. as appropriate. One major national drug store chain frequently issues coupons for spices at 3/$1. whereas the name-brand items can be $2-$3 at the grocery store. • Use plain yogurt and butter spray on baked potatoes. I know the sprinkles are 100% refined sugar. especially when they're 3/$1. the bacon bits are a bargain. buy some of the dried bacon bits to sprinkle on as well. . Okay. nuke them in a small dish with a little water. as are the chocolate and rainbow ice-cream sprinkles. but if you have kids you know that they go absolutely crazy for them and they're a big hit at birthday parties). .Tip 3: Look for coupons for the spices in your Sunday paper. with some water and simple spices. If you're a bacon lover. Of course. back to veggies… • Buy close-out veggies when they are available at your store and make a healthy soup or stew out of them. This is the 'zero calorie' spray that you find in the butter section. try the powdered butter substitute found in the spice section of your grocery. Even if you've avoided these low-fat products because they don't taste as good or work as well as butter on sandwiches or toast.

and taste just as good – and sometimes better – than the first time around. margarine.Serve and enjoy.. simply pop the giant ice cube of soup into a pot and heat slowly for 10 or 15 minutes. Also.) • For meat dishes. SLOWLY add 109 . pork or lamb. it's advisable to pre-sear the meat in a little olive or vegetable oil first. To thicken. A good recipe is to sauté some onions in butter until soft. The meat can cook along with the veggies (allow extra time). and stir the mixture into the broth slowly. But there is a special reward in making a giant pot of delectable fresh vegetable soup for $2 or $3. The best time to do this is before you cook the food. (Hint: do not add the flour directly to the mix. or freezing some for later. etc. you can buy full-price fresh veggies. drizzle the mixture into the broth very slowly and keep stirring or the flour mixture can still turn into dough. or it will turn to lumps and clumps of dough and powder. Be sure all of the flour is dissolved into solution BEFORE you add the mixture to the broth. and in most cases that is all you'll find available. • For a cream sauce. If you have a breadmaker machine and make a loaf of homemade bread for about 50¢. to boot! • For a red sauce / French-style dish. You can freeze soup in leftover plastic containers from yogurt. Example: make some 'roux' in the pot before you start cooking the veggies or veggie / meat combo. then add some flour and spices to form a paste. Frozen soup or stew will keep for months. To reheat. • For a little European flair. it just looks better when it's pre-seared. If you happen to find a LOT of veggies on sale.Cook for about a half hour (or about 5 minutes if using a pressure cooker.) . add a little milk. consider making a big pot of soup or stew and serving it all week long. sour cream. mix a little flour or corn starch with water in a cup. add some white or red wine to the dish. you can feed your family like royalty for less than $5 – and often enjoy 2 or 3 meals out of it. Of course. add fresh or canned tomatoes prior to cooking. sour cream or plain yogurt near the end of the cooking cycle. but if you have cubed beef.

milk or yogurt to make a cream sauce out of your broth. You can make excellent fresh noodles using nothing more than flour and salt. or just buy pre-made noodles if you're short of time. rather than buying pre-grated cheese. Consult any good cookbook to find out which spices to use with which veggies or veggie / meat combination. This roux / wine combination will thicken your sauce and add some very intricate and interesting flavors. You'll find that you can make some GREAT international dishes in no time at all if you learn a few basics such as this. Often. cook some noodles separately and serve the soup over the noodles. Here are some tools and techniques: Cheese: Buy blocks of cheese and grate them at home. There is not a vegetable on this planet that cannot be cooked in hundreds of different ways.00. Many Hungarian dishes such as goulash and Chicken Paprikash follow this process. • To stretch your soup / stew. you need a 'recipe mix' to shake things up. The variety of dishes you can cook for your family is endless. make a roux as described above and then when the dish is complete add sour cream. if 110 . salt and a little baking powder. water. and are among the tastiest meals you will ever eat. and excite your family's taste buds. I'll find the small blocks of cheese on sale for about $1. and in thousands of different combinations with different spices and sauces. DAIRY Dairy is one area in which it can be difficult to cut costs – difficult but not impossible. • For a totally mind-blowing culinary sensation.your wine to de-glaze the pan (all this means is that you loosen the sticky bits off the bottom of the pan and scrape everything into a consistent sauce). and make excellent dumplings right in the soup. 'Recipe boredom' does not have to be an issue in your household. The same amount by weight of grated cheese will often be $1. You don't need a 'box mix' to add variety to your diet. just prior to serving. You can also make a paste out of flour.99 or more – literally double the price! Granted.

Cheddar or Mozzarella. Another thing that amazes me at the store is how size-specific people have become. Most people grab the gallon container out of habit.79. If you buy one bag of grated cheese per week for a full year. you can grate Monterrey Jack. you've wasted almost as much money as it would take you to buy a food processor and grate it at home. Always look for the lowest price brand when shopping. Sharp Cheddar or anything you'd like. all the cuts are different and some cook up better than others. you're paying about a 150% markup over the larger sizes. My local store regularly puts half gallons of milk on sale for $1. but many of the lesser-priced cuts can be turned 111 . But here's a secret: all beef comes from a cow. Keep an open mind – and an open eye – when you're shopping for milk. and freeze what you don't need in the short-run. Yes. Then. Milk: It's funny how milk prices can vary so dramatically by brand. Do the higher-price brands come from better breeds of cows? I don't think so. As long as you have a method of storing these don't have a food processor at home. so get the bargains whenever you can. That is why I believe you should make every effort to get a food processor as soon as you can afford one – or get yours out of the attic and actually start using it. you store the cheese in plastic container for future use. all pork comes from a pig. Another advantage of grating your own cheese is that you're not limited to American. hand-grating a full block of cheese will take a lot of effort. all parts of a chicken come from a chicken. Buy a half-gallon or gallon. while a full gallon container will be priced at $2. And for you singles out there: never buy a pint of milk. Sure. and you can really save. MEATS Most people avoid the lower-price cuts of meat. because they want their family to enjoy the finest quality. milk freezes and thaws out just fine… You can stock up on some FRESH items just like you stock up on canned goods. Colby. People: two halves DO make a whole when it comes to milk. Swiss. Prices these days can change from week to week. How long does it take to grate cheese? It takes about 10 seconds. you can buy them while they are on sale. using a food processor with a grater blade.00 each.

Boneless Breasts . but this is simply not practical for many people. But the difference in cost can be significant. Chicken To fully understand how the different cuts and packaging combinations of chicken affect price. etc. Often. and freeze them individually for one-at-a-time use later. because you're paying a huge mark up for a few pennies' worth of spices.Skinless / frozen Boneless Breasts . I also recommend that you NEVER buy pre-seasoned meats. enjoyable meals. here's what you're likely to find: Whole Chickens or 'fryers' Half or Quartered Chickens Specific-Section Packs. It would be easy to preach that you should always buy whole chickens and cut them up as needed. and it's not particularly easy unless you learn how to do it. The higher up this chain you buy. given the amount of time you can devote to cooking. flavorful. the difference in the preparation time of your meals is just a few short minutes. Or. all wings. because they are there when you need them and they're easy to cook. or a few pennies worth of seasoning. etc. From lowest to highest price. the less you will pay. it takes time. all bonein breast sections.Skinless / fresh Pre-Seasoned Breasts or Tenderloins Understand the 'preparation chain' of the food you buy.into excellent. with all drumsticks. the lower down the chain you buy. What I DO recommend is staying as high up this list as possible. just look at the cost per pound of each variety. 112 . It's messy. Bone-in Chicken Sections. breasts with wings attached. if you're willing to rebag them. including drumsticks. you can buy packages of fresh breasts on sale.Skin on Boneless Breasts . It's all in the cooking process. A relatively inexpensive and handy choice is skinless / frozen breasts. thigh sections. the higher the price you pay.

celery. it comes with your pressure cooker. and many ways to make tasty enjoyable meals using the lesser-priced cuts. the slower it needs to be cooked.Chicken can be cooked in a multitude of ways. Just about any cut of beef will come out tender and juicy if you slow cook it for about 3 hours at 250 degrees in the oven. If you don't have a pressure cooker. peeled vegetables such as potatoes. onions. carrots. Remove the roast and put the spacer in your pressure cooker. and bake for about 15 minutes. onions. Put this all into a casserole dish and top with a simple piecrust (takes just a minute to make with flour. potatoes that I have cooked separately. For example. based on how much cooking time and work you're willing to put in. I make a casserole-sized chicken potpie for fraction of the cost of buying a store-made pie. You'll also get great results if you cook it all day in a crockpot. just buy what you prefer. Start to finish takes about 30 to 45 minutes. you can cook a delicious pot roast in less than 1 hour's time – start to finish. With a pressure cooker. My favorite way to cook lesser cuts of beef is in a pressure cooker. and look for the best value you can. and sear your roast on all sides for a minute or two. so there is no great secret to buying individual cuts. Perhaps the best rule of thumb with non-ground cuts of beef is this: the cheaper the cut. Try that in an oven – you can't do it! Here's the recipe: 1. etc. Beef There are many different cuts of beef. I add some carrots. Replace the roast. which you like. and then I thicken the remaining liquid with a little milk and some flour and water paste to make a cream sauce. you should definitely consider buying one – especially if you often find yourself short of time to cook. and it will please a huge. Use whatever is in season and/or on sale. This is a little metal plate that keeps the food away from the direct heat. hungry crowd. 3. You can add a can of tomatoes if you 113 . 2. and surround with cleaned. I simply cook two or three chicken breasts in the pressure cooker. salt and shortening). Heat a little oil in the pressure cooker.

tasty home-cooked meals but find yourself challenged for time. 4. and it will always come out great. salt and pepper. Regarding chopped or ground beef. I would strongly urge you to invest in a pressure cooker. But remember – the value you thought you were getting will be going to waste when you drain away all the fat. If you want to serve your family hot. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. If you do buy cheaper ground beef. 6. so they're actually a better buy in the long run… Another way to tenderize cheaper cuts of beef is with meat a red sauce. which will be very evident when you cook it. so there's no need to worry about your health. and you will have an incredibly tender roast. If you can. You can cook ANY type of meat in a pressure cooker this way. drain it well after cooking. the more tender your beef will be. And if you don't drain away all the fat. But they can make a world of difference in the tenderness of your beef. They simply can't be beat as a kitchen helper. Add about 2 cups of water. guess where it will be going? You may find that the costlier ground beef will yield bigger burgers with less fat. This way it will tenderize better. but leave the cooker on the burner. let the pot sit for an hour or longer. A little extra preparation time and changing your cooking methods can make these cuts of meat just as delicious as 114 . or cut up some fresh tomatoes. The new types of tenderizer are NOT MSG-based. If you are planning to cook and serve your roast immediately. Close the cooker and heat until the weight starts to rock. I would recommend cutting the meat into smaller chunks prior to cooking. If you can't wait. 5. you can place the cooker under running cold water to reduce the pressure immediately. let the pressure go down naturally. Turn the heat off. use your best dietary judgment rather than price to make shopping choices. 8. The cheaper ground beef contains the most fat. The longer you let the pot sit. I like to add chopped garlic. 7. try it and see! You can lower your meat costs by purchasing cheaper cuts of meat and cooking them differently.

healthy and flavorful meals.the higher-priced cuts. Here are some very simple. If you family is bored with the food you cook. For meat-eaters. you can work out your own system without buying expensive storage containers. potatoes. the secondary element is rice or other grains. but they tend to be expensive and full of fillers and artificial ingredients. As mentioned earlier. Once you've mastered these sauces. wash and save your leftover yogurt cups or pudding cups and freeze the sauce in them. the secondary element is rice. You could buy pre-made sauces. Variety is the spice of life. if you're serving single portions. and the variable element is the sauce or spices. etc.). MARINARA SAUCE. Or. potatoes or other vegetables. beef. rice. pork or lamb. You can pour your cooled sauce into quart-sized heavy-duty plastic kitchen bags and freeze. commercial pasta sauces typically have a lot of starch fillers. If you are typically stressed for time. most meals consist of a base and a sauce. or vegetables) and create gourmet meals that your family will love. you can keep your food costs low. Just put a sheet of plastic wrap or wax paper on top before freezing. That is why it is important to develop as many different sauce or spice combinations as possible. For vegetarians. the core element is chicken. Serve them over your choice of core ingredients (cooked pasta. you can make a better sauce 115 . very tasty sauces that you can make in minutes. and the variable element is the sauce or other seasoning additive. you can serve them over any core element to make delicious. spice things up: simple variations on the sauces you use to top your food can make meals new & exciting again. meats. And by using core ingredients as the base (rice. the core element is one or more vegetables. SAUCES: The Miracle Budget Stretcher When you get right down to it. Then. simply re-heat in a saucepan or in the microwave to serve. you can actually prepare these sauces in large quantities and store them in the freezer. With a little resourcefulness. noodles.

If you want a decadent meal that people will rave about. This is known in Italy as "Aglio et Oglio" and it is a classic. purists prefer chopping the garlic fresh. sauté some chopped onions or chopped green peppers as well. Yes. Heat in a saucepan until it thickens slightly and then add your core ingredients. but it does take extra time…). If your family likes mushrooms. you can add a can of peas on some chopped ham. this will work every time. Serve over hot noodles and sprinkle on grated cheese. Melt a stick of REAL butter (margarine will NOT work for this one) in a saucepan over medium high heat. start on your sauce. but if your goal is to impress. Sautee for a few minutes and then serve over your core ingredients. It is said that Homer lived on this dish while writing The Iliad. fry some chopped garlic in a little olive oil. add a can of tomatoes (or fresh.that is 100% natural by buying diced or pureed tomatoes and adding a few spices to your liking. For example. Heat very briefly until garlic is barely cooked. Simply heat some olive oil in a saucepan and add chopped garlic (the jars of chopped garlic are easy and tasty. Top with chopped chives for color. it's high on the cholesterol and fat content. if available). BROWNED BUTTER SAUCE. CREAM SAUCE. you can make a great sauce by melting some butter in a saucepan (real butter is best for sauces. I find that kids like it better without any spices). and when they're almost done. This dish has been served for thousands of years – literally. so you know it has to be good! Cook your noodles first. If you like. and heat for 15 to 30 minutes. but margarine will do). The simplicity and powerful taste of this dish is amazing. MUSHROOM SAUCE. This will taste WAY better than those 'quick side' pouch meals. When the butter 116 . start with a small carton of heavy cream. To make a delicious marinara sauce. stirring occasionally. OLIVE OIL & GARLIC SAUCE. Add a little Italian seasoning or basil (optional. stirring constantly. then serve over cooked pasta. Top with grated cheese. and you've got a great presentation. When they are transparent but not browned. adding mushrooms and a sprinkling of garlic powder or chopped garlic.

remove the seeds. For variety. stirring constantly. A cool and refreshing alternative to oil-based sauces is a simple and clean yogurt sauce.starts to burn.) The flavor of this dish will overwhelm you. (Grating a fresh block of hard cheese just prior to serving will make your dish much more flavorful than if you use the 'green cardboard shaker' cheese. chopped chives and tarragon to plain yogurt. or serve it on top of your core ingredients as the main sauce. Add 2/3 cup of whipping cream and cook until slightly thickened. etc. This is an elegant sauce that turns any core ingredient into a gourmet treat. PESTO. 1 tsp. add 1 cup finely chopped green onions until transparent (but not brown). ideal for special occasions. Reduce heat to low. Simply add some parsley. add 2 teaspoons white vinegar. Add a half cup grated Italian cheese and process a few minutes longer until smooth. I recommend getting a small electric chopper to save time – and save your knuckles. Nothing is lighter or cleaner than fresh lemon juice. WHITE MUSHROOM SAUCE. a half cup of fresh parsley leaves. This is an unusually pungent and tasty sauce. stews and other recipes. SOUR CREAM SAUCE. Add additional oil until it forms a smooth paste. immediately take it off the stove. You can use any really hard cheese such as Asiago. Heat through. salt and half cup of oil (preferably extra-virgin olive oil). This one takes a little longer and a few more complex ingredients. You can use Pesto to add zing to soups. 2 to 4 cloves of garlic. Try sprinkling on some fresh ground black pepper for extra zest. and pour it over your noodles. YOGURT SAUCE. Start with 3 to 4 cups of basil leaves. Here's a quick and easy sauce 117 . stir and store. Parmesan. Melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a saucepan. it really brings out the flavor of vegetables. and serve on top of your favorite core ingredients. Puree in a food processor for a minute or two until smooth. Top with grated hard cheese. 2/3 cup sour cream and 1 teaspoon of salt. 1 cup shelled walnuts (optional). Squeeze fresh lemons into a bowl. but do not boil. Pecorino. add chopped cucumber (known as Raita in Indian cooking). LEMON JUICE.

more people are discovering that spicy peanut sauce is great on barbecued meats. but it's much better in the long run. Up for something different? As Thai cooking grows in popularity. it will require stirring.) Stir in 1 clove of garlic. typically found in health-food stores. stirring constantly. 1 tsp. buy the all-natural jar of peanut butter. Stir in 1 cup of slivered or ground almonds. served as a dipping sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. fresh mushrooms (try an egg slicer). on medium heat. broiled or 118 . Add a dash of cayenne pepper. In a clutch. but once you get a craving for it. Heat a half cup of chunky peanut butter in a saucepan. Pour back into sauce pan and cook until thickened. it will be a welcome change of pace on your dinner table. Sautee in a half cup of melted butter until golden. Fry until wilted and pale brown. 1 tsp. ground coriander. 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley. chopped fresh ginger. 2 tsp. Add salt (course or sea-salt preferred) to taste. then reheat prior to serving. they serve it over chicken and lamb. and gradually stir in a half cup of water and a half cup of canned coconut milk. Remove from heat and puree in a blender with 2 cups of plain yogurt and a half cup of water. from India). is much better for cooking than the commercial brands. (Flavors blend best when sauce is cooled then reheated. ground fennel. Here's an easy way to make this sauce quickly.) Serve over barbecued. Sautee 3 cups of finely chopped onions in 1 cup of olive oil (or clarified butter. Remove from heat immediately and serve over pasta. but that takes extra work) over medium heat. 3 tsp. or just as a side sauce to flavor up any meal. Add more water slowly until sauce is the right consistency. SPICY PEANUT SAUCE. ground red pepper. stirring constantly. ground cumin and 1 to 1-1/2 ¸tsp. This sauce is a bit exotic. Here's a decidedly elegant sauce you'll love as soon as you've tasted it. stirring constantly. Cook for 10 min. Stir in 1 cup of heavy cream. ALMOND CREAM SAUCE (Korma. Slice 1 lb. vegetables or any core item combination. Remove from heat and cool at room temperature for 30 minutes or longer. but it's also ideal just by itself over rice or with vegetables. Top with grated cheese. Stir in a half cup white wine. Cook for 5 minutes.that is sure to impress. (I find that the fresh-ground peanut butter. ground cardamom. minced very fine. In India. and add salt & pepper to taste. Cook over low heat until the flavors are blended. 2 tsp.

(optional. Mix until blended. cornstarch with a little water to form a liquid paste. half tsp. CHINESE HOT SAUCE. 3 tbl. Blend the tastes. a hlaf tsp. finely-chopped ginger. To make hot oil. Worcestershire sauce). If you are cheap like me. mix 1 tsp. then store your cooled sauce in the refrigerator in a jar and heat in a saucepan prior to adding your core ingredients. ginger. The Cajuns in Louisiana use this sauce on all types of seafood and sandwiches. 1 tbs. and cost next to nothing! REMOULADE SAUCE. How do the Chinese make so many different dishes so quickly? The secret is their base sauces. place a handful of dried red peppers in a jar and add oil (olive. salt & pepper to taste. canola or any cooking oil you prefer). warm water. Simply mix the following in a saucepan: 3 tbl. When using. sugar. Mix 1 cup of mayonnaise with 1/8 cup Famous Sauce (available at your store. a half tsp. hot chili paste. In a small jar. vegetable. if desired.fried chicken. 1 tbl. Add a dash of MSG for flavor-enhancement. plus 1 cup or more of dry sherry to taste. you can make your own hot chili sauce in minutes. buy the inexpensive bottles of red chili flakes at the drug store or 'dollar' store. add 1 tbs dry sherry and a half cup chicken broth. Garnish your dish with fresh cilantro. or more hot oil (see below). then salt. mix 3/4 cup ketchup. name brand starts with a “D” and rhymes with turkey. pepper and garlic powder to taste. Here's another basic Chinese sauce that you can use to make a range of different menu items. Here's one that you can make in advance and serve over just about any core ingredient to make a tasty change-of-pace dish. Start with 3 tbl. 1 tsp. CHINESE IMPERIAL SAUCE. Heat over medium heat for 5 minutes and serve over your favorite core ingredients. or your choice of core ingredient. use the oil only and not the peppers. Add chopped garlic. Soy sauce. sugar. bean sauce (found in Chinese grocery stores). Drizzle slowly into sauce to thicken. most people prefer no MSG). 1 tbl. In a small cup. minced ginger root and 2 tbl. HOT CHILI SAUCE. They work great. If you like things on the hot side. of sugar. Chinese black vinegar (or 1-1/2 tsp. Sesame oil and 1 tsp. olive oil and beat 119 . Add 1 tsp.) Slowly add in 3 tblsp. Soy sauce.

Whisk until blended. These are but a few of the many. Add 1 can cream of mushroom soup and a half cup hot water. 3 tbsp. Add to your list of sauces. dried oregano and dried thyme. nothing beats a complex cream sauce. This is also a Cajun recipe.vigorously. Blend the flour mixture into the melted butter until thickened. Pour over any core ingredient for a delightful meal. grated parmesan cheese and allow to melt. Add 3 tsp. combine 3/4 cup Butter or margarine. That's because the items that are in most abundant supply – and therefore the lowest in cost – are usually the freshest. Add a half cup hot milk and slowly blend in 1 pint sour cream. many sauce recipes you can find in your favorite cookbooks or on the Internet. 1/4 tsp. the variety of sauces you can cook is unlimited. 120 . 1 tblsp. Heat on low for 5 minutes until blended. As you can see. In a small saucepan. This recipe uses ingredients you probably have around the house. Worcestershire sauce. In a small cup. Add 1 tsp. lemon juice. a dash of hot pepper sauce. This is a spicy sauce that some people can't live without. beating after each ingredient. Blend in 2 tsp. each of cayenne pepper. white pepper and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. 1 tsp. 1 tsp. salt. Bring to a simmer. MEUNIERE SAUCE. Bring to a simmer and then add 6 oz. 2 tsp. dry white wine. minced parsley. Melt a half stick butter in a saucepan. Add 1 tsp. Louisiana hot sauce. because they are being harvested now – not 6 months ago. prepared horseradish. 3 tsp. For sheer elegance. ideal over seafood. Simmer until thickened. Creole or 'poupon' mustard and then mix again. 1/4 tsp. and you will find that you can create exciting and varied dishes in minutes – for meals that your family will savor and thank you for again and again! Big Idea Recap – Chapter 17 BIG IDEA 80: CHEAPEST can often mean BEST when it comes to food selections. white pepper and 1/8 tsp. ULTIMATE CREAM SAUCE. and cooks very quickly. chopped green onions. Add salt if desired. ketchup. mix 2 tablespoons flour with a little hot water until dissolved.

BIG IDEA 84: There is not a vegetable on this planet that cannot be cooked hundreds of different ways. and more value than just about any item in your grocery store. the lower down the chain that you buy. BIG IDEA 87: You can lower your meat costs by purchasing cheaper cuts of meat and cooking them differently. BIG IDEA 88: Variety is the spice of life. That is why the Italians have been able to make thousands of individual recipes based off of this one vegetable. But the difference in cost can be significant. spice things up: simple variations on the sauces you use to top your food 121 . and each will be tasty and healthy for your family to eat. and that is why it is the mainstay of their diet. the higher the price you will pay. as long as you have a method of storing these items. BIG IDEA 82: A large bag of potatoes has more nutrition. BIG IDEA 83: Tomatoes are packed with nutritional value and flavor. The higher up this chain that you buy. or a few pennies worth of seasoning. BIG IDEA 85: You can stock up on some FRESH items just like you stock up on canned goods. The variety of dishes you can cook for your family are endless. BIG IDEA 86: Understand the 'preparation chain' of the foods you buy. the less you will pay. The Irish knew this centuries ago. and you'll eat fresh-cooked quality with every meal. and in thousands of different combinations with different spices and sauces. A little extra preparation time and changing your cooking methods can make these cuts of meat just as delicious as the higher-priced cuts. more food volume. If your family is bored with the food you cook. and excite your family's taste buds. You can make hundreds of recipes around the tomato. so 'recipe boredom' does not have to be an issue in your household. the difference in the preparation time of your meals is just a few short minutes. Prices these days can change from week to week. you need a 'recipe mix' to shake things up. You'll cut vast amounts of time out of your cooking procedures. you need to buy them while they are on sale. and store them in a way that you can reheat them quickly for individual meals. so get the bargains whenever you can.BIG IDEA 81: Make a large quantity of your core ingredients. Often. You don't need a 'box mix' to add variety to your diet.

potatoes.). you can keep your food costs low. noodles. 122 . And by using core ingredients as the base (rice. etc.can make meals new & exciting again.

DRINKS • Brand-name soft drinks by the can are expensive. buy the quart. and you'll lower the volume and weight of groceries that you have to truck back to your house.) What is at the core of any non-alcoholic drink? Water. You'll avoid a huge mark-up. liter or 2-liter sizes of the brand-name stuff. $2. that container of 'fresh' juice is actually factoryblended out of "FOJC". You can make them at home using a blender. or if you just don't like them. • Kids love slushees. Tea bags are cheap! You can make fresh-brewed tea in the microwave in minutes and then add ice cubes and sweetener to make your own tea for less. Your money will go a lot farther! • Iced tea by the can or by the jar of mixture can be expensive. Choose the storebrand. but they cost $1.50. but it can also be very expensive. Compare the cost of a half gallon of fresh orange juice to a can of frozen juice that makes a half gallon. • Fruit juice is very healthy and delicious. and replace it with clean & fresh water out of your own tap.00 or more at the burger joints. because the kids get less 'wired' than with the sugar mixes. as it's known on the commodities market (Fresh Orange Juice Concentrate. Avoid buying drinks that have the water added at the factory. and some pre-sweetened packet drink mix. some ice. It can often be almost 50% less in cost – and some frozen brands taste just as good as fresh. 123 .Chapter 18: Miscellaneous Cost Cutters Here are some random tips for saving money at the grocery store. and you can make a great daiquiri without paying for those high-priced frozen mixes. and serve in a glass with ice. And in many cases. You can also use this method to make summertime adult beverages – mix in a little fresh fruit and lemon or lime as well. We use the sugar-free varieties.

they cost about half as much. use your own plastic bags and dish out a small portion of these items from a larger bag. fill it with your food. With one of these machines. buy the large-size package and divvy the product out into small baggies yourself.COOKIES & SNACKS • The store brands of cookies are often as good if not better than the name brands. you can individually package your own portions and lock them up in a storage closet. Now. You'll accomplish the same goal. • If you give your kids snacks for school. here’s the advantage. the ones that use a roll of plastic pouch material. because they haven’t had to make any sacrifice. Does it make a difference? Well. and double or triple the cost of the item by weight. If you want to implement portion control. by weight. Those small pre-packs of snacks are about three to four times more expensive. than bagging the same portion yourself! PORTION CONTROL The marketing gurus at the food manufacturing companies have latched onto a great idea: package smaller amounts of their product in tiny packets. 124 . you’ve spent $6 plus another $2 or $3 in plastic supplies. but lower your total food bill. Market it as 'healthier-size portions' and people will pay the mark-up and be glad for it. but instead of spending $20 or more on individual packets. and then the machine sucks out the air and seals the flap air-tight? They’re really not that expensive to purchase. you cut off a section of pouch material. Plus. but they’re very expensive – and the kids will overeat them if you buy the large economy size. you’re saving $133 or more per year – and best of all you’re keeping the little ones happy. melt one edge to seal it in the machine. you can purchase one of those food-saver machines. because you're paying a wildly-inflated cost for the food inside those packets. You know. If you are super-diligent about this. if it’s an item you buy every month. The net result: one 5 lb. purchase can last for a full month. AVOID THESE PRODUCTS. Let’s say that your kids just absolutely love those chocolate-coated candies.

oven cleaner. Just do a web search on “homemade cleaning supplies” and you'll find dozens of sites offering recipes for cleaners that you can make for a fraction of the cost of the name-brand versions. vinegar.CLEANING SUPPLIES • One thing will never change. one web site lists a recipe for furniture polish that is made entirely out of olive oil and lemon juice. which can seep into the cracks in the wood and cause problems if you ever decide to refinish the wood. rubbing alcohol.. Does it somehow make you feel cheap? It shouldn’t. can be made out of a combination of water. etc. etc. Their homemade version works just as well as the commercial stuff because the lemon juice dissolves the dirt and smudges on the surface while the olive oil shines and protects the wood.. buy the big container and use a coupon.79! So you’re reducing your cost by over 75% by purchasing at the cheapskate store. • Read the 'Hints from Heloise' column in your newspaper. and by buying big you won't be running out as often. – saving you 70% to 80% off the cost of buying the brand-name stuff.. you guessed it – a dollar! And the remarkable thing is. this stuff won't go bad. This same type of product. etc. Many of these items such as window-washing solution. or log onto one of the many websites that show you how to make clone – copies of brand – name cleaning products yourself. I found a huge bottle of orange spray cleaner – you know. Imagine that – a cheap and effective product that does a better job than the high-priced sprays! 125 . many of these items will actually be environmenally-friendly. You’ll find that many of the home-made products will actually be better for your home and for the environment. when purchased at the “oh so environmenally concious” earth-friendly store will cost you as much as $4. They claim that most commercial polishes and sprays use silicone oil. ammonia. the need to clean. • Shop at the dollar stores. the kind that uses citric acid as the main cleaning ingredient – and it only cost $1. So when you're buying household items like laundry detergent. dishwasher soap. bathroom cleaner. It should make you feel smarter.. You’ll find a treasure-trove of cleaning supplies at the dollar store for the remarkable price of. baking soda. For example.

And that brings up another very important point: saving money to help others. but the proceeds that your local schools can receive from it are huge. Just keep a plastic bag in your pantry or kitchen drawer and clip these coupons all year long – even if you don't have school-age kids. Since General Mills is such a large manufacturer and distributor of food products.Make your own cleaning solutions and you can easily save $20 or $30 per month off your grocery bill. One of the best and largest grocery-related programs around is "Boxtops for Education" sponsored by General Mills. You could collect enough over one year's time to provide $20 or $30 worth of educational supplies for your local schools. When you see bargains like this. and they will certainly appreciate your thoughtfulness. consider buying a few extras for the less fortunate. based on the number of coupons that the school turns in for credit. Our furry friends need help. It helps local schools get free or discounted educational supplies. Every town and city has a center that accepts food and household items for the poor. Each one is worth about 10 cents towards school supplies or educational equipment. and will put it on sale for pennies on the dollar to clear it out quickly. The program costs you nothing extra. buy a bunch of everything and drive it out to the animal shelter or ASPCA. SUPER BARGAINS • Often you will find that your store is discontinuing an item. Many of these home-made products actually work better than the store brands as well. Helping to provide a 126 . Help Your Community with Coupons – Even If You Won't Personally Benefit. too – and their caretakers never get enough money or support to provide the animals with everything that’s needed. you simply clip the little coupon that is printed on the packaging and collect them. There are many people who could benefit from your shopping activities. With this program. And if you happen to find pet food or pet supplies on close-out. you'll find these coupons on dozens of different products you buy every week.

Spending less money on food does NOT mean you have to buy lower quality items. 127 . Of course. One immediate idea is to see if you have a Second Harvest or other food bank in your area. When you do see an incredible bargain on a particular item. It will be more enjoyable in the long run. Food banks collect canned goods and non-perishable items for distribution to hungry families throughout your area. You'll avoid a huge mark-up. But if you find yourself buying inferior products just to save a few pennies. and you and your family are too important to settle for second best. Rather than sacrifice quality. Buy concentrated juices and powdered drinks. If you find yourself buying inferior products or lowering your standards in the quality of the food you buy. Value is not as important as providing the best quality for your family so price should not be your only motivation when shopping. chances are the item is well worth the price they are asking for. you're not using the system correctly. I would recommend buying a smaller portion of the better quality items and consuming less. If you see a clear-cut difference in the quality of an item. you can enjoy the finest items in the store for a fraction of the everyday retail price.better education for our children is something we can all be proud of. and the higherpriced item is definitely of better quality. and you'll lower the volume and weight of groceries that you have to truck back to your house. It's easy to enjoy BETTER food and pay LESS money if you follow the steps outlined in this book. If you follow the methods outlined in this book. QUALITY • It needs to be said that nothing substitutes for good quality. what's the point? Life is too short. you can be a hero by purchasing one or two extra items and donating them to the food bank. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 18 BIG IDEA 89: Cut down on drinks that have water added at the factory. there are many other community groups that could benefit from the discounts and bargains you are able to achieve through proper shopping techniques.

BIG IDEA 91: Make your own cleaning solutions and you can easily shave $20 or $30 per month off your grocery bill. or if you are especially resourceful. Or simply buy extra nonperishable items when you see them on super-sale and donate them to your local foodbank. Many of these homemade products can actually work better than the name brands! BIG IDEA 92: Quality of life is important.BIG IDEA 90: If you want to provide portion-controlled servings. Saving money does NOT have to equate to settling for less. and therefore the quality of the products you purchase and use is also important. get a food-saver machine and make air-tight pouches for longterm use. You'll help out your community and store up some good karma while you're at it. Use the tips in this book to buy top-quality products for less. You can use plastic bags. 128 . consider buying the large economy-size package of a product and doling out the portions yourself. BIG IDEA 93: Be an "angel" and participate in free programs such as "Boxtops for Education" that help others.

Plus. it is clear that you are being profiled every step of the way.Chapter 19: Online Coupon Hunting If you have access to the Internet. if you find a coupon for a product your family uses a lot. But if you read their Privacy Policy. You should be aware that many of these ‘free coupon’ sites are really consumer survey / information-gathering portals for the food manufacturing industry. Value – with a Cost. there are so many loopholes and 'trusted partners' who get your information. one offer I came across was for chocolate powder that kids use to flavor their milk. One site promises that your data remains safe. If you need a coupon for peanut butter. do not participate in their surveys. Use the internet to your advantage BEFORE you go food shopping. and provide the minimum amount of answers required to get to the coupons on their site.$30 or more in savings. The site will ask you a wide range of personal questions about your household. run a web search for "Peanut Butter Coupon". you can print off as many as you like. and if you are concerned about privacy and "Big Brother" knowing too much about you and your family. and will not be shared with third party firms. A half-hour spent searching for coupons can easily reap $20 . only you're not working: you're having fun. Be wary. You'll find dozens – if not HUNDREDS – of coupons that you can print immediately. Repeat this for all of the other main products you will be shopping for. you can get some great coupons online. For instance. The website asked for two answers prior to receiving 129 . and your answers will become part of a compiled database file on the members of your household. always skew your answers in the direction the marketers are looking for. It's like having a part-time job that pays you $40 or $50 an hour. Here is a trick: if you are required to answer questions about your usage of a product prior to your printing the coupon.

but it sure appeared to me that the food . you are almost certain to get the maximum value coupon available on the site that day.the coupon: 1. This way. It’s actually a ploy they use to REMOVE the coupons for items that are already on local promotion in your area. and guess what – the potato coupon reappeared! 130 Now.) I logged in using a Zip Code from another state. Just to see what would happen. ALWAYS say that you are interested in the featured product and would like to try it. Why do you suppose that would happen? Answer: they didn't want to cannibalize their profits from a current customer. Guess what? No potato coupon was found! Just out of curiosity (and frantic to get my potato coupon) I logged in using a different browser (Internet Explorer instead of Firefox) so there would be no ‘cookies’ stored for my account. and the potato coupon disappeared from the list. two of my local stores had a namebrand line of potato mixes on BOGO. How do I know this? Recently. So when you encounter these 'surveys'. Here’s another trick: Some of these online sites will ask you to enter your Zip Code to find “local savings. I thought it was an error. it was apparent that this was a major push to get people to try these products at the start of the fall/winter “hot food” season. I entered my Zip Code to get the local offers.” I discovered something surprising about this. How many times per week does your household use milk flavorings? 2. but you currently use a competing brand. so I logged out and logged back in again. ignore this if you find it confusing. I tend to be cynical. and I was quickly routed to a 'technical malfunction' page that said the coupon could not be printed at this time. How many of these instances involved the brand name featured in the coupon? I answered the maximum in each case. Because the same offer was made at the two largest grocery chains. These are the box mixes of augratin or scalloped potatoes. (techie note only. I went to my favorite online coupon site and saw a 40¢ coupon for this item on page 1 of the site.

65 ($1. This site features about 20 to 30 coupons per week on all types of consumer products.) Moral of the story: you may want to avoid asking for “local savings” coupons if you really want to save more money locally. On a recent visit. medicine. and unless you uncheck the requests on their pages. they’ll typically double every coupon that is within their accepted value range (any coupon under 50¢ at my local store.29 minus $ you will instantly be signed up for a wide array of offers.25 ($1.manufacturer didn’t want me using both the doubled coupon AND the BOGO offer. I was asked to review and “accept” or “skip” about 8 lengthy offers for insurance. Just be aware that they are partnered with dozens of information-compiling They even put the coupons in the same position on each page. But I know from experience that most stores ignore this request because they want to please the customer.80 for 2 boxes) Of course. Eversave. Read the fine print carefully and uncheck all offers before proceeding. so you can cut a stack of pages all at once and the coupons will all be trimmed out correctly! 131 . the internet coupon was marked “Do Not Double”. This site will make you work hard to get to the coupons – but it’s worth the effort. etc. and some tips on getting the best coupon values on each site. Here’s why: Normal price of item Cost per item using only the BOGO offer Cost per item using BOGO offer AND the doubled coupon $1. But then the payoff was huge: 82 coupons were available to pick and choose.29 per box $0.29 total for 2 boxes) $0. magazines. Here are some coupon sites to visit. or you will forever be inundated with emails and marketing offers. CoolSavings. The easiest way to do this is to “select all” and print.

and you get to choose by specific brand names. on items that your family is very likely to want and use – items like popular cereal brands. Fees typically range from 5¢ to 15¢. plus a 50¢ administration fee. you have to agree to complete a very lengthy survey and tell them everything about yourself – in great detail. But overall. You can order multiples of the same and that just kind of goes against the grain of true cheapskates. the shopping cart changes the quantity to 5 – even if you only selected 1. so you should be a very avid coupon user to cover the startup fee. This site is well organized. Thecouponclippers. you don’t have to do all that clipping… Clipngocoupons. You have to go through quite a bit of mumbo-jumbo before you ever get to the coupons. you don’t pay an annual fee. The drawback is that you have to pay to save. plus you must install their printer drivers to print coupons. but you do pay for each coupon. then pay an additional $8. Here.95 annual fee however. this site has a huge selection of coupons at very reasonable prices. I would recommend this site if you are buying for a community group such as your Boy Scout 132 . Plus. Plus.. On this site.A. There is a $ you can plan your savings over personal and cleaning products and more. as well as the number of coupons currently available and the expiration date. etc. You select the coupons online and receive them in the mail within 7 to 10 business days. you can stock up on the specific coupon. One annoying thing about this site is that on coupons that cost you 5¢. it displays the specific coupons available by category. They offer a large number of coupons at very good price points. A good site to visit often! NOTE: this site is rebranded by local newspapers such as the L. This site requires that you pay a $7.25 to receive up to 50 coupons by return This site requires you to register with minimal information. This site offers pre-clipped up until the expiration date of the coupon. so you will be directed here from many other sites. the Baltimore Sun. Times. gourmet food items.50 fee to join. CentsOff. so if your family is a big consumer of a particular item. Coupons.

The food industry giants monitor this site. But visit it. etc. and all the rebates and coupons to make it happen at the lowest possible price." GroceryDiscounts. You are not the only consumer that wants to save money on groceries. they provide valuable information about what offers are good and not so good. This is a great site for sharing coupon tips and techniques with people from across the country. because you will regularly find responses from the PR departments of the big companies. so I really can’t toot my own horn. Plus. This is the author’s web site. "FatWallet's mission is to serve consumers with knowledge. We offer many links to the best savings of the week. The site simply links to The site features a surprising number of local coupons that you can print out and redeem for discounts on dining. You'll find 'hot deals' on coupons. There are no grocery coupons on this site.Troop or church social group. MyClipper. Thefrugalshopper. but also some unique freestanding sites great for rebate-searching. You are required to provide specific household information to sign up. Members of this site post information about hot deals and web sites where you can download coupons. and see what you think. value and guidance. with comments from people who have claimed them or have comments about the offer. I was impressed at the high coupon values and diversity of local establishments participating on this site. 133 .S. rebates and regional offers posted here. It's like having for grocery discounts. you can get valuable tips from hundreds of other value-conscious shoppers across the U. too! Fatwallet. many leading to the sites listed when you plan to make multiple purchases of specific items over the long term. This site maintains a large number of links to coupon values. This site uses a double opt-in validation As posted on their site. It means that you sign up on line and then you receive an email that you must respond to if you want to get to the online coupons. shopping. especially when a consumer posts a complaint here.000 friends to ask advice from. entertainment. so it may be disappointing if you are looking for printable grocery coupons. Plus. however.

Chances are. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 19 BIG IDEA 94: Use the internet to your advantage BEFORE you go food shopping. and share your successes with other value-minded individuals. Knowledge = cash savings for you. and make a new friend. You can benefit from their experiences and wisdom by searching the internet and reading about their tips & techniques. Plus. You'll find dozens – if not HUNDREDS – of coupons that you can print and redeem immediately. you might just meet a kindred spirit on one of the blog sites. 134 . you’ll learn some great money-saving tips that you can use over and over again. BIG IDEA 95: Use the internet to capture tips & techniques from other shoppers. Join some of the ‘blogs’ (web logs) related to cost-cutting.Millions of people today have to count pennies to stay afloat.

you might only be spending a little more time than you do already. You can't teach a stranger what their mama was unable to many years ago. But you can demonstrate proper courtesy yourself and hope that some of it wears off on others. "Courtesy is only a thin veneer on the general selfishness". and pull your cart off to the side before you get in the line. Okay. This certainly brings us to the issue of your fellow shoppers. is that you're definitely going to be spending more time at your local grocery store. So if you see someone lurking nearby. pull your cart over to the side of the aisle so others may pass. you'll probably be blocking a few dozen shoppers during that time. If you're taking a particularly long time to review the products on the shelf. Unfortunately you'll find this to be the case among the people sharing the aisles of your grocery store. if you're waiting in line at the butcher or deli counter. be aware of where you left your cart. Similarly. Here are a few ways you can become a more courteous shopper and make everyone's shopping experience more pleasant. Shelf Surfing. As it often goes with Murphy's Law. It was Honore De Balzac who said. Cart Courtesy. one way or another. and either doesn't know – or doesn't care – that other people are shopping in the store at the same time. Take a minute to think of other shoppers. Nothing is more frustrating that waiting behind someone who is stopped in the middle of the aisle.Chapter 20: Grocery Store Etiquette One thing to bear in mind as you implement these saving techniques we've discussed. When you're not moving. People's behavior in the grocery store is a mirror reflection of their attitude towards others. take a glance around every so often to see if anyone is waiting nearby. two or more people will need the exact same item on the exact same shelf at the exact same time. they're 135 . but you're going to get to know your local store pretty well. If it's in the middle of the aisle and you'll probably be waiting in line for 5 minutes or longer.

they’ll never let you live it down. put the blame on the computer and not on the poor cashier who is just doing his or her job. she’s there to help you. So give them a break. And. trying to make it through their shift. Plus. It makes for a more pleasant exchange. the cashier is NOT trying to rip you off. as well. Plus. Cashier Courtesy. If you’re certain that you are entitled to the lower price or the coupon redemption. So your 5-minute excursion to the service counter could save you a few extra dollars. don’t pitch a fit or blame the cashier: offer to fix it at the Customer Service counter after you check out. it reflects poorly on her if she’s got a situation with an irate customer. 136 . Your fellow shoppers will be very appreciative. and simply walk away from the service counter. if you’re wrong. So make your choice and move on. Can we check the sale flyer to see if I’ve got the right item?” In other words. “oh oh – I think the scanner took the original price and not the sale price. the cashiers will have you pegged as a ‘problem customer’ which is not a good way to make friends or get preferential treatment when you shop. “hey – you’re trying to rip me off!”. If you have a discrepancy on a price. needless to say (but I’m going to say it anyway). okay? Wrong Price / Wrong Coupon.. It’s important to mention that the cashier at your local grocery store is working to feed his or her family. They’re not there to represent the ‘big bad grocery store chain’ or ‘big corporate food manufacturers’.. like you and me. try. don’t jump down their throat: mention that there is an issue with the price that the scanner has entered. Plus. If there is a huge line at your grocery store and the scanner simply won’t ring up the correct price or accept your coupon. and she wants your shopping visit to be pleasant. apologize. Here’s another value-shopping tip for you: most stores have a ‘no error’ policy that will give you one of the sale item FREE if their system rings up the wrong price. Instead of. So give her a break. But if you try to resolve the situation in the checkout line and hold the other shoppers up for 5 minutes or so. you can accept your error. They’re just people. as will your cashier. take it up with a customer service representative after you finish paying for your groceries.probably waiting for you to move.

Big Idea Recap – Chapter 20 BIG IDEA 96: If you notice a price discrepancy at the cash register. walk over to the customer service counter after you’ve paid. 137 . You may get one item free if the pricing error was caused by the store’s computer. Instead. it can pay to NOT mention it to cashier.

138 .

for example. A good tip is to put those items LAST on the conveyor belt. that store “A” has put the large size of laundry detergent on sale. Free & BOGO Coupon Presentment Order. In other words. If you take store “A’s” flyer to store “W”. One of America’s largest discounters offers a unique value proposition.99 – all the while taking advantage of store “W’s” other low prices.” This particular store will match their competitor’s advertised sale price on the exact same item. and put the free and BOGO coupons FIRST on your stack of coupons. The bad news is. Let’s say. but purchase the rest of your weekly food needs at their regular store prices. There are many coupons that offer an item for free but they also indicate that the cashier must write the purchase price on the coupon. This one tip alone can shave $20 or $30 off your weekly food bill.Chapter 21: Miscellaneous Time-Saving / Money-Saving Tips Here are some ways to save time at the grocery store. so they don't have to search for the price. you can purchase this same item for $3. This information can be used to your advantage in many ways.99. many 139 . A cashier recently told me something about the processing of 'free' and 'BOGO' coupons. This makes it easier for the cashier to find the prices. but you won’t have to burn up your valuable time and gasoline to visit these stores. You can also take flyers from store “B” and from store “C” and “D” into store “W”. Let’s call them store “W” and affectionately nickname them “Wally World. you can get the price-saving advantage of shopping at ALL of the stores in your are. at the same time you are saving money using the tips and techniques found in this book.99 but this week it’s on sale for $3. The cashier asked me to always hand them the coupon at the same time they are scanning the free item. They'll really appreciate your effort! Competitive Price-Matching. regular price $7. But the fun – and the savings – don’t have to end there. This may be one of the only loss-leaders they advertise for the week. Store “A” has the goal of getting you to come in for that one bargain.

and it's one that 90% of all shoppers fall into. If you only need three or four items to complete your meal on a Sunday afternoon. when you need those three or four items. You’ll just have to do the math yourself to decide which stores in your area offer the best final-cost pricing on the items you need. Paying full retail for food is a bad habit. The net result: I experience savings of 40% or 50% on my total order that day. "Acme Grocery". In time. they don't know any other way. I’m not suggesting that you ONLY buy the price-match items at store “W.” That wouldn’t be fair to them. You're in a huge rush at 4 p. 140 .m. but they are the best bargains for that day in that store. I find it very beneficial to scan the grocery flyer from my local store. I run by and pick up those three or four sale items that I have coupons for. when I would have otherwise experienced savings of probably 0% had I not taken the extra few minutes to scarf up these values. you will consistently find yourself paying less for food because you have changed the way you shop. It only takes an extra two or three minutes to pick them up. but when I'm breezing in to Acme for my 10-minute kamikaze shopping blitz. If you habitually follow even a few of these money-saving tips. but it can be very costly if you don't time to shop for bargains or take advantage of the in-store sales on that particular day. and then I do a quick perusal of my grocery coupon envelopes to see if I have matching coupons.m. Make Saving a Habit. You're probably a wiz at the 'self-scan' aisle and know how to shave minutes off your trip.e. Most of the time. many times the net cost of items at store “W” are lower with single-value redemption on coupons that they are at competing stores with double-value redemption. Speed Shopping. The secret to accomplishing BOTH of these goals is to do a little pre-planning. Now. I locate the sale items. All this is great. But you're relaxed and taking your time at 8 a. you will save money on food. i. I may find only three or four coupons. when you're reading the Sunday paper. I pull out the coupons and place them in the envelope I've got named specifically for that store.stores like store “W” do not double your coupon’s value. you probably want to breeze in and breeze out of the grocery store. And honestly.

You can also find meat that is expiring and on-sale 141 . or even just a few square feet on the side of your driveway. Now you're asking me to put on bib overalls and farm the back 40? What are you. etc. If it's defective. nothing is better than fresh basil. Grow Your Own Vegetables and Herbs. So it was well worth my time to complain.00 off coupons for their other products.Never Settle for Poor Quality. write a quick letter to the manufacturer and tell them so. the grocers expect a certain amount of 'breakage' as it's known in the trade. to take things out of the recycling bin? No! You are doing better than recycling – you are re-using!). You might be surprised at how easy it is to grow your own herbs and save on the cost of buying them fresh. or just not be usable. and they all spit it out. I know what you're thinking: I barely have time to zip through the grocery store. cilantro. Start a Soup Night. you can grow your own tomatoes or green beans and save lots of money on fresh vegetables. Even their friend who weighs 300 lbs and regularly cleans out my refrigerator of all leftovers. Every grocery store has vegetables that are reaching their peak and must be sold quickly. because my personal focus group is pretty reliably when it comes to evaluating kid's foods. Once in a blue moon. – and these grow very well in small pots that you can put on a window sill. actually. thyme. it's nothing like that. Okay. If you have a patio or deck. So if you pick up a bag of mixed vegetables for $1 or $2. Try it. The manufacturer wrote me back and send me three $1. taste horrible. he spit it out. parsley. you can cook them up in a pressure cooker and make a delicious soup in less than an hour. and use them to make a pot of soup! Monday's are good days for grocery stores to clear out their leftover inventory from the weekend. Tomatoes grow very well in a large bucket – and you can often find the large 5-gallon plastic pails thrown away behind restaurants or in the recycling bin. you will purchase an item that will either have gone bad. If you like gourmet cooking. return it to the store for a new one. If the item is in fine condition but you just think it's nasty-tasting. Turn this to your advantage. (Is that unethical. So I wrote a note to the manufacturer and told them that they needed to reformulate or at least re-think the product. I recently bought a juice item for my kids. CRAZY??? No.

Big Idea Recap – Chapter 21 BIG IDEA 97: Some big-box grocers offer to match competitive store’s sales prices. That's up to $360 savings per year – plus you'll eat better and tastier meals. BIG IDEA 100: A few minutes per day invested in growing your own vegetables and herbs can easily save you $20 or $30 per month. By learning how to prepare these items quickly. that is still absolutely fresh and good to eat that day but must be sold by the store before midnight to comply with basic regulations. welcome meal that your family will love and look forward to every week. without the added cost or time of actually driving to all of these stores. you will see a consistent and ongoing reduction in your net cost of food. get your money back or get a replacement. It makes a terrific dinner. and you have a gourmet treat that's easy on the budget as well. If they're defective. If they're just poorly made or you are completely dissatisfied with them. the store couldn't sell them if they weren't. BIG IDEA 101: Bargain meats and vegetables are still very edible and nutritious. Bake a loaf of fresh bread the night before. 142 . By taking the other store’s sales flyers into the big-box store. using your breadmaker. If you make bargain-grabbing a habit. you can not only save money – you can prepare them into a delicious.for fi the price or less. you can enjoy the best values from every store in your area. BIG IDEA 98: If you get in the habit of ALWAYS picking up a bargain or two EVERY TIME you visit the grocery store. BIG IDEA 99: You never have to pay for items that truly are unusable. Take advantage and cook it all up together with a few spices. you will habitually save on food. write letters: you'll get satisfaction in the end – and probably save a few extra bucks as well.

May your coupon-cutting scissors remain sharp. You can feed your family for less and enjoy nutritious. You don't have to settle for second best. and you don't have to pay top dollar to get the finest groceries available in the store. delicious meals that can improve their health and you can save lots of money in the process. there you have it. Good shopping to you all.Closing Notes Well. I hope that the ideas presented here have given you a new outlook on food and cooking in general. regardless of how time-challenged you are. and your piggybanks remain full! 143 . You can shop quickly and efficiently.

usually from red blinking box BOGO or B1G1 . that a grocery store doubles in value Free Item Coupon . Also referred to as SS coupons or insert coupons.Manufacturer MFR .Manufacturer Money + .Name.Hope this helps ISO .Hot Deal Alert or Home Delivered Ad HT or HgT.Refunds that require only a UPC# written on a CRT Coufund .Free Standing inserts. usually has a red border C/O .Buy one get one free Catalina .GLOSSARY Guide to refunding and couponing terms : Blinkies .Cash register tape DCRT.National Brand Qualifier 144 .coupon dispensed at register after purchase.cents off coupon Codes .In search of LTD .instore smartsource coupon dispensed near product. as on a refund form it will say you're limited to a certain number of purchases MFG . zip code NB .The health and beauty aid section in the grocery store HDA .A coupon that allows you to get the product completely free FSI .Hang tags for refunds or coupons hanging on a product HTH .for coupons that need some proof of purchase such as UPC's attached Cpns . HBA .Premiums that require money in addition to a proof of purchase NAZ .Dated cash register tape DCRTC .Do Not Double (the coupon is not supposed to be doubled) Double coupon .Dated cash register tape with the price circled DND .Limited.manufacturer's coupons CRT . These are the actual term to the coupons you get in your Sunday newspaper.National Brand NBQ .

The POP required for a refund offer that is physically taken from that package RAOK .while supplies last YMMV .Try Me Free Triple coupon .Paypal handling fee Q or Qualifier.Your Mileage May Vary (Success of offer is variable. etc) SWEEPS .Random act of kindness SF .A pad of refund forms found hanging from a store shelf or display TMF . any size OSI .On a single item POP .) 145 .a coupon that a grocery store triples in value UPC .a coupon that is good on one purchase.No expiration date Nfp .NED .sweepstakes form Tear pad .specially marked packages SS .Store form SMP .refund form found in a newspaper NT WT .Universal Product Code WSL .coupons that are doubled $1 + in value (ie.Sunday supplement coupons (FSI) Super doubles .purchase price PPHF .proof of purchase PP . a $1 coupon = $ weight OAS .

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You can shop smarter even if you’re always in a hurry LEVERAGE. Understanding how to leverage the grocery manufacturer’s promotional cycles AISLE MASTERY. a non-profit foundation dedicated to solving the world hunger crisis. and Allied Graphic Arts. You will learn how to completely re-shape your approach to food.THIS DEFINITIVE GUIDE to saving money on groceries is a godsend to families who struggle to make ends meet. His clients have included many of the nation’s largest manufacturers. That’s at least $1. Discover the system that can save you 30% . You will learn the inside secrets that the food industry doesn’t want you to know – and how you can harness that knowledge to beat them at their own game. this book will show you how easy it is to actually IMPROVE your menu and INCREASE meal satisfaction – all while PAYING LESS CASH each week for groceries. If you’ve tried ‘skimping’ on quality or selection just to lower your costs. Buying the best for less than the ‘off brands’ SMARTER COOKING.even 50% or more on groceries TAKING SIMPLE STEPS. Selecting core ingredients rather than paying for high-priced ‘pre-mixed’ items THINKING LIKE A MARKETER. . FKB Group PLC. Your family will love the results – and so will your budget! RANDALL PUTALA is a career advertising executive that has worked for some of America’s largest agencies including BBDO. How to use coupon doubling and store promotions to maximize savings STAYING IN SEASON. retailers and financial institutions. and develop lifelong money-saving habits such as: MAKING BETTER CHOICES. Putala is also the founding director of World Hunger Team.40% . How to think like a chef to get the best shopping values on any given day SYSTEMATIC SAVINGS. within days of reading this book you can start saving a minimum of $30 per week – all while eating tastier and more nutritious meals.500 in savings per year! And if you’re spending $200 or $300 per week – you can easily save $3. Inside the pages of “Better Groceries for Less Cash” you will quickly learn and master the simple techniques of value buying.000 to $5.000 per year. 101 simple action steps that you can learn in minutes If your family spends $100 or more on food per week. This is real money that you can bankroll to make life-changing differences in your family’s lives.